As far as the NHL’s media personalities go, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is the social media king.
Although co-worker Darren Dreger hopped onto Twitter first, McKenzie quickly discovered an important feature — turning off his notifications.
Blackberry batteries would quickly drain had he left them on, with the smartphone buzzing each time one of his 319,728 followers added the hockey insider to his Twitter feed.
“I realized early on a lot of people were going to follow me, so I turned that notification right off.
I can honestly say I don’t even look to see who’s following me. I don’t have any notifications,” McKenzie said.
There are plenty. Many of them the professional players he so often tweets about — from Claude Giroux to Jordan Eberle and Paul Bissonnette.
It’s not uncommon for them to exchange thoughts or jabs online, either.
“It can be sort of a global community, a good thing,” McKenzie said. “It can also be a pain in the butt sometimes.”
Conversations with hockey fans aren’t always fun or very enlightening.
“Sometimes you get sucked into fighting with people on Twitter, which isn’t a wise idea,” McKenzie admitted. “Occasionally, your human weaknesses get the better of you ,and you engage when you shouldn’t.
“For the most part, it’s pretty good. Considering I’ve got, I don’t know, 320,000 followers or whatever, the number of idiots is relatively low.”
Regardless of how we feel about it, Twitter has become the first thing we look at in the morning and the last checked before bed.
“It’s like having a newswire coming to your phone wherever you are all the time,” said McKenzie, who got on a couple of years ago before the July 1 free-agency blitz.
“It’s funny how it changes. Before Twitter, you get up in the morning and I would go to all the various sites, usually newspaper sites, and make sure I was up on whatever was happening. Now, I follow all the reporters and media people and hockey people associated with the various teams — not just the NHL, but junior hockey, the minors … international hockey — and they basically tell you, here’s my work.
“The amount of time I actually spend on the Internet outside of Twitter is negligeable.
“When I start my workday, the very first thing I do is read the overnight Twitter feed. If there’s going to be breaking news, that’s where you’re going to see it first. If there’s going to be a good article or feature written about a player or a team, there’s going to be a link to it. You subscribe to somebody’s Twitter feed, and if a media person so chooses, they can literally be breaking news— do play-by-play of news all day long.
“It’s really up to you to make sure you follow the right people.”
McKenzie is definitely one of them.