One man’s view of those to consider following on Twitter for St. Louis Cardinals-major and minor league-related information.
Having been later than some to join the Twitter game, I recently shared my first-month thoughts about the hot social networking tool, both pros and cons. Now, I am going to take the next step to call out the identities of those I recommend St. Louis Cardinals fans who participate in Twitter should consider following.
As spring training officially begins, the amount of information being tweeted and re-tweeted is increasing considerably. Unfortunately, also growing is the level of noise.
Beyond being told what music is in their iPods and what they had for breakfast, perhaps my biggest pet peeve when following a baseball-related tweeter is the “yes-men” who re-tweet everything the beat reporters say, as if everyone who might possibly be interested doesn’t already follow the original source. (This is worse if you decide to monitor the team-related hashtags. See below.)
Filtering out the inevitable noise can best be attempted by carefully selecting those who you follow on Twitter and occasionally weeding out those who don’t give you what you want. That simple thought led me to adopt an idea I saw a Mets blogger undertake recently – to summarize the various team-oriented individuals pumping good stuff out into the Twitterverse.
Across all my personal interest levels, I have carefully selected 150 I currently follow, but will identify here the subset of 30 or so I think are most relevant to the masses of Cardinals fans. Some make sense for major league news only while others are obviously minor league-focused.
I probably won’t remember everyone and apologize in advance if I inadvertently left you or your favorite information provider off the list. If there are some notables you like that I have forgotten, please feel free to call them out below.
I won’t add explanation unless I think it is necessary to clarify the source. I am also not going to comment much on who tweets what outside of baseball as you can decide for yourself what interests you beyond Cardinals news and what does not, but all that follow offer ample Cardinals-related content.
Remember, if you decide after the fact that following someone isn’t working out, you can easily and immediately unfollow them. I did it with Jose Canseco most recently when he went off on a profane tirade. It was clearly the right decision for both of us.
To go to the Twitter home page of any of these to check out their recent tweets and perhaps follow them, you can either click on their names below or simply enter “twitter.com/xxxxxx” in your browser, where xxxxxx is any name listed. (Note that the capitals do not matter, but the underlines _ clearly do, such as with my account, B_Walton. Anywhere you see what appears to be a space in the linked names below, an underline _ is actually there.)
A few of the Cardinals players partake, but I would imagine they are learning that its two-way operation can become a challenge. The latter two often use Twitter to share religious-themed messages.
Of course, there are literally hundreds of national writers and sites that also tweet occasionally about the Cardinals, but my focus here has been the handful of team-oriented ones with which I suggest you consider when getting started.
Hashtags are keywords included in tweets, identified by a hash sign (#) preceding them. The advantage for the reader is to be able to search on and/or regularly follow a topic area based on its hashtag, rather than by individual tweeters.
The most important hashtag that is regularly used is #stlcards. Its major downside is the volume of unwashed masses participating. Think of it as sort of the Twitter version of the Cards Talk message board, so be prepared to sort through considerably more chaff than wheat. Another problem is mounds of repetition as well-meaning twitter neophytes re-tweet comments from beat writers who everyone already follow – sometimes a day or two later.
Another is #hpgf – short for “hyperventilating prospect geek fraternity.” The acronym was first coined by the Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss to poke at what he considers to be an overzealous subset of Cardinals minor league watchers. The #hpgf hashtag caught on with some as a quick way to summarize “Cardinals minor league prospect information” into just five characters, saving more of the 140-character maximum per tweet for content. Others only use it in a derogatory manner, however, so I have moved to #stlminors.
A final thought
Like anything else, Twitter can become a huge time burner or less politely, a major time waster. My recommendation is to start slowly with sources you think you know you want to follow and gradually work your way into it. If you have to step away from Twitter for a few hours or days, let the tweets go that appeared while you were gone. There will soon be plenty more where they came from.
Good luck and good tweeting, Cardinals fans!
Follow me on Twitter.