I’m Puzzled Here August 25, 2012Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
I saw the article that Ted linked to recently, where American football gets compared to English soccer on social media.
That got me thinking. How, exactly, do the Caps stack up on Twitter, compared to the rest of the NHL?
I pulled the numbers on Wednesday afternoon, but, not exactly liking what I found, initially opted to table this until I could get my analysis of the numbers into a less severe tone. I’d hate to come across as bad-mouthing a team that’s treated me so well over the years. The Capitals, from Ted Leonsis on down, have been very good to me for a very long time, and I’m reluctant to imperil that much goodwill.
BUT–and this is why I’m going forward with running this–if I see what could be a problem, shouldn’t I point it out? If keeping my mouth shut means the team keeps doing what could be the wrong thing, wouldn’t I be doing the team a disservice by spiking the story?
Indecisive Libra that I am, it’s taken me a couple of days to decide.
But, in a spirit of loving guidance, I’m going to go forward with this piece. For the record, I’m not mad here: I’m just not quite sure why the Caps are doing what they’re doing on Twitter, especially in comparison to other NHL teams.
So here goes nothing. I know I’m not going to make any new friends on F Street by saying this, but check the numbers: the Capitals are statistically one of the snobbiest NHL teams on Twitter.
First, the follower numbers, which, again, I got on Wednesday afternoon. All the feeds were check-marked as official, and I’m going to take Twitter at its word on that.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS
Okay, in terms of followers, the Caps aren’t doing bad at all: top half of the league, more followers than a good number of prior Stanley Cup champions, and within hollering distance of the current Stanley Cup champions. The teams ahead of the Caps are all hockey towns of considerable repute, and the Caps are at the top of the heap in terms of followers in the Southeast Division.
Not bad, right? Well…not so fast. Take a look at these next two charts. The gaudy numbers you see by Toronto and St. Louis are not typos.
TEAM FEED FOLLOWING
Ouch. The Caps come in second-to-last here, in absolute terms, with not even three score follows. There’s a lot one can say about Toronto’s performance on the ice, but MAN, are they ever good with the follow backs on Twitter.
So what? Doesn’t a championship mean more than Twitter numbers? Perhaps…but try convincing the Islanders of that. They won four Stanley Cups a generation ago, and they might not even sell out three games if they sold one ticket to every Twitter follower that they have. (One of which is me, by the way: I consider it prudent hockey fandom to follow all 30 official NHL team feeds.)
But more to the point, engagement matters. This has been something that the Capitals have recently been at the forefront of. The team didn’t exactly invent the hockey blogosphere, but they did a heck of a job nurturing and building it. The Capitals, at least from what I’ve seen, have been a high-touch franchise for quite some time. So what’s with the infinitesimal follow numbers?
It gets worse when you look at the ratio of followers to follows. I’ve rounded the ratios to the nearest hundredth.
RATIO OF TWITTER FOLLOWERS TO FOLLOWS
Again the Caps turn up near the bottom, this time in relative terms. What’s particularly troubling here is that, of the 5 teams at the bottom–all of which have ratios north of 2,000 to 1–the Capitals have the lowest number of followers by a very wide margin. Perhaps it would be a bit much for a feed with a quarter of a million-plus followers (Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Montreal) to have a similar ratio to, say, the less-followed Florida Panthers. A fair point…but then, how do the Red Wings, with thousands more followers than the Capitals, still manage to keep their ratio in double digits? How do the Maple Leafs, with over half again as many followers as the Caps, stay on top of a Follow list that wallops the Capitals’ by more than 450 to 1?
Does it make any sense for a team that prides itself on being highly engaged, to be that reluctant to follow other feeds? What are the Blues doing that the Capitals aren’t? How are the Hudson Valley teams all able to maintain such good followback ratios? How do the Maple Leafs, who may just be Canada’s version of the New York Yankees, stay on top of 25,000+ feeds? And, most importantly, what’s preventing the Capitals from doing likewise?
If you’ve got any ideas, Caps Nation, I’d love to hear them. Something about this scenario does not compute. It’s out of character for an organization that prides itself on being high-touch.
For the record, I’m not mad here, I’m not trying to stir the pot, and–believe it or not–I’m not trying to beg for a follow. I just pulled the data out of curiosity, and couldn’t make any sense out of it. If anything, I’m just puzzled by a situation that’s so completely out of character for the team I love so much.