Throughout the week, the Bruins Daily staff will be posting their guide to surviving the 2012-13 NHL Lockout. Today, we will look at the usage of social media and how much effect it will have, if any.
It’s the fall of 2004. The Patriots are coming off their second Super Bowl in three seasons, the Red Sox finally triumphed over the hated Yankees – coming back from a 3-0 deficit – en route to their first World Series victory in 86 years (sweeping the Cardinals in four games), Mitt Romney was the Republican Governor, Senator John Kerry was the Democratic candidate for President, and Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg just launched The Facebook. For hockey fans, this time is remembered for the beginning of a bitter war between the NHL owners and the NHLPA over a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which eventually caused the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season; becoming the first league to accomplish that feat (if you want to call it an “accomplishment”).
Many things have changed eight years later. The Red Sox have become the biggest soap opera in New England; the Celtics are among the top teams in the NBA; the Bruins are the most recent local professional champions; the Patriots have the longest championship drought in the City of Boston; Romney is running a disastrous campaign against a weak incumbent for President (much like Kerry did eight years prior); and Facebook is one of many networks in the social media revolution. One thing that remains, however: the owners and the NHLPA are back at square one on the bargaining table and seem further apart from a new CBA on day two of the 2012 lockout.
Gary Bettman, who was brought in from the NBA to end labor unrest, is entering his third lockout in his 20-year tenure as NHL commissioner. And while Bettman has seen his share of scrutiny from fans booing him during the Stanley Cup presentation – especially in Vancouver when the Bruins triumphed over the Canucks in seven during the summer of 2011 – to media criticizing him, its safe to say that is lenient compared to this current lockout.
That didn’t stop Bettman from catering to the fans, however.
“We recovered last time because we have the greatest fans in the world,” Bettman said.
And this is where Facebook, and other social media outlets, like Twitter and YouTube, enters the discussion.
For fans, it’s simple. They have an area to vent their frustrations like never before.
On Twitter, we saw some pictures of Devils and Rangers fans uniting outside the NHL Store on the Avenue of the Americas in protest of the lockout this past Saturday (photo from Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet Philly @tpanotchCSN). There has also been an increase of criticism of Bettman not just from the fans – who are using the hashtag #FireBettman – but from former wrestler The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) out of all people. And on Sunday the NHL official twitter account lost as many as 5,000 followers.
The backlash is also there on Facebook where fellow bloggers, hockey scribes and fans are venting on their official pages. Also of note, the NHL National Fan Association has over 4,700 members in its group account that started last month, while its fan page, which launched on Sept. 8th, is close to 200 followers.
Several fans have also published custom YouTube videos, and the NHLPA did the same when the lockout became official yesterday in its PR war with the owners to play the sympathy card.
Below is a list of accounts for Twitter and Facebook accounts – in addition to Bruins Daily’s – to follow during this lockout for CBA analysis, player insights, humorous posts and other hockey related tidbits, including material on other hockey leagues. I’ve also included Twitter hashtags.
@HackswithHaggs (Joe Haggerty, CSNNE)
@Ferknuckle (Andrew Ference’s official Twitter)
@JustinDOY (Justin Aucoin of Days of Y’Orr)
@JonFDOY (Jon Fucile of Days of Y’Orr)
@PezDOY (Greg Ezell of Days of Y’Orr)
@sarah_connors (Sarah Connors from Stanley Cup of Chowder)
@ChrisWasselTHW (Chris Wassel aka my co-host on The Hockey Writers, Live!)
@wyshynski (Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy)
@dchesnokov (Dmitry Chesnokov, Puck Daddy writer and TSN contributor)
@Steve_Dangle (Steve ‘Dangle’ Glynn, Leafs fan and YouTube guru)
@goon48 (Eric Burton of Goon’s World)
@RealStamkos91 (Steven Stamkos’ official Twitter)
Finally here’s a great YouTube clip from a freelance video editor from Finland, Janne Makknonen (@JanneMakkonen1).