Digital platforms like Twitter are changing the game for athletes when it comes to connecting with fans and establishing their personas off the field, pitch, ice - or wherever it is they play. But is the relatively new world of social media - something old timers never had to navigate - putting pressure on today's pro athletes to interact with fans or self-promote?
Last week, ClickZ News talked Twitter with Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton at MLB Fan Cave, a unique video studio and production facility masquerading as a baseball lover's hangout - and a destination for fans hoping to catch a glimpse from outside its giant storefront windows of the antics going on within.
The Fan Cave was designed to entice baseball players from across the league to hang out, shoot some pool, watch a ball game on the wall of high-definition TVs known as the "Cave Monster," or even chill late nights in the downstairs lounge. The ultimate goal for Major League Baseball is to get players who are in town for games against The New York Mets or New York Yankees to take part in an ongoing collection of video shorts intended for sharing across the web.
After filming a Fan Cave video with fellow Dbacks outfielder Chris Young involving air hockey and Connect Four matches, Upton talked Twitter with ClickZ.
Rather than Twitter putting pressure on players, Upton said, "It's more of a competition - who can be the better athlete or the more accessible athlete. It makes guys want to open up to their fans."
Watch the video to find out who Upton thinks is one of the most shameless promoters on Twitter, and which athletes he believes are better at Twitter than baseball players.
Check out more behind the scenes coverage of MLB Fan Cave from Click News.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.