This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on November 26, 2008.
Many credit Barack Obama‘s domination of the web as the key to his election success. If web presence has anything to do with the chase of the Stanley Cup, Vancouver Canuck fans had best start planning Lord Stanley’s parade.
From using bloggers as models in their advertising, to a video podcast taking fans behind the scenes, to tools for blogging fans and blogging players, the Vancouver Canucks are “giving it 110%” on the internet.
“The goal is to give our fans a voice and allow them to engage with the team as much as possible,” says Canucks Director of New Media, Kevin Kinghorn. “One of the big things we’ve tried to do this year is create a zone where fans can do that.”
The Fan Zone at Canucks.com is the center of the action featuring fan blogs, podcasts and message boards alongside blogs by players, like Darcy Hordichuck.
“I think doing something like this is good to do for fans because they always like to know more about players and life outside the rink so I’m happy to do this,” writes Hordichuk in a recent entry.
Hordi also has his own website, DarcyHordichuk.com which features fight videos and some blog entries about life in the big leagues.
“I know as a kid growing up, I always wanted to know what dressing rooms looked like, some people like their hockey cards, I wanted to know about the dressing rooms – everyone has their thing, right?”
Hordichuk, and other blogging players like goalie Curtis Sanford, record their entries and then the Canucks new media team transcribes the answers into blog posts.
“That seems to be the easiest way, I’m not really computer savvy,” admits Hordichuk.
It also lets the new media team steer the content of the posts by having the players prompted with questions that are sent in by the fans.
While Darcy Hordichuk has had his own website since his days as a minor leaguer with the Orlando Solar Bears, don’t expect to be able to friend him up on Facebook anytime soon.
“I did Facebook, and was a little overwhelmed. I found out every time I’d go to Edmonton or Calgary old friends I’d never seen would come out of the woodwork looking for tickets,” he chuckles. “I try to keep my life simple and I’ve got enough things going on. Facebook can get addicting and take up a lot of your time.”
The Canucks also are producing their own behind the scene podcast made up of a lot of press content and interviews, along with some fun segments with the players. A recent episode had Alex Edler giving Swedish lessons and a future post will feature some of the players playing a Christmas trivia game.
“Fans are really interested, there’s an appetite for info on the players and we’re trying to deliver that,” says Kinghorn.
Shaquille O’Neal is trying to bring some new media love to his Phoenix Suns. He’s signed on to Twitter and has been trading messages with fans, and mixing in philosophy with his tweets about cheeseburgers. “Treat people as u expect them to be, not how u think they are,” wrote Shaq on the weekend.
Once again, Meg Fowler is a local in the lead for the Canadian Blog Awards. “Canada has such a unique, fresh blogging community — it’s amazing to get a kind little nod amongst such creative people,” says Meg who has made her blogosphere mark with witty haiku and friday love lists to welcome the weekend.
“13668 people are watching puppies sleep,” wrote Darren Barefoot on Monday. It’s true. The Shiba Inu Puppy Cam has become a web sensation with more than 4 million viewers in the past month. It’s simply a web camera pointed at six 7 week old Shiba Inu puppies, that’s it. It will all be over in a week or two as the puppies have all been adopted.
Google has unveiled some very exciting upgrades. If you look under your GMail settings tab you’ll find themes which will let you change the colour palette of your page. Video has also been added to GTalk, look for a video camera next to a contact to let you know they’re online and available for a video chat. The Google Mobile App has added voice search for the iPhone. Now instead of typing in your searches, you can speak them. All the upgrades are free and easy to use.