Twitter reaches an all time high for Wingate sports

@WU_Bulldogs is “Twitter-Famous” 

Tyler Smith, Staff Writer

Bulldogs hit 5,000 followers on Twitter and become verified.

Every August Wingate University opens its doors to students once again, and fall sports begin their quest towards clinching SAC championships and region titles. This September, it was the Sports Information Department that clinched bragging rights for their own when they became the first twitter account in the South Atlantic Conference to gain 5,000 followers.

In October, they took it a step farther and became verified. According to Forbes.com sports fans are “67 percent more likely to use Twitter as their second screen viewing experience compared to non sports fans”.

In Division II athletics, where not every parent or fan can make the cross country trip to games, online updates are crucial. Many schools in the SAC post updates on sport schedules and provide post game scores, Wingate’s Twitter handle @WU_Bulldogs posts schedules, post game scores, mid game updates, player highlights, GIFs throughout the game after a touchdown or goal, and much more.

Hugh Patton, Associate Director of Athletic Media Relations, says that staying above the curve is a mixture of taking inspiration from others, and simply using the tools that are right in front of them – Wingate’s student-athletes.

“We just try to look around and see what other people are doing and seeing what works for them, at really any level, some professional teams, some big colleges, some little colleges,” Patton said. “We started doing GIFs a lot, and people love those. We got ideas for those from some MLB, NBA, and NFL teams who have started doing some of those and we saw that the fans liked it a lot.”

While keeping fans alert and updated on scores and game updates is important, the Bulldogs’ sports information crew does not find itself bored on days where there are no games scheduled.

“We try to stay creative, stay new, stay different,” Patton said. “Ryan Brown (Director of Broadcasting and Video Production) wants to be the first to do stuff and he’s always looking for a new way to do something.”

In honor of the anniversary of September 11, Wingate’s grounds crew filled the Stegall lawn with American flags. The Sports Information Department took their new drone camera for a spin, resulting in a short, but touching tribute video in honor of the victims of the terrorist attack 15 years ago.

“We got our analytics last week and for the last 28 days, we had almost a million impressions, which is huge,” Patton said.

“Some of our tweets are getting incredible viewership – and our posts on Facebook too, including the 9/11 memorial video, It was really cool to do and a lot of people responded to it.”

“Really the biggest part is, if all of your teams are winning, and everyone is successful, its really easy to get those interactions online,” Patton said.

As Wingate athletics as a whole embarks on its quest for an 11th straight SAC excellence cup, the sports information department is working hard to keep up with the athletes it works so diligently to highlight.

“We have the best teams in the conference and the region,” Patton said, “So we feel like we need to have the best social media in the conference and the region so everyone can follow along with whats going on.”

Edited by: Sara Gunter

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