So this season, one of the things I wanted to do was free myself to do more creative stuff on the blog. The thing that was sucking up my time were the game recaps, which have grown in length each season since 2006.
After all, I started this blog to hone my writing skills. And since I had no space constraints like normal newspaper reporters, I just kept writing. And writing. And writing. I’m not sure if anyone actually reads all my stuff, but it was fun to do. If my stories were to run in print, they would easily be 20+ inches. (I measured once, as a goof.)
But I like to keep challenging myself, so I came up with a humdinger. Since I’m so used to writing a novel after every game, why not adhere to the first rule of journalism: brevity. So I decided that I would become the first-ever Twitter sports reporter. Sort of.
I mean, everyone is a reporter of sorts on Twitter, right?. I had to define what would make my “stories” different than a Tweet. Basically, I’ll be composing what is called a nut graf. A nut graf is the paragraph in a feature story that sums up the newsworthiness of a story. So my plan is to go from writing 20 inches about a particular game to cramming it all into a single paragraph.
But that wasn’t enough. I also wanted to try and utilize my Twitter page, which has devolved into just another way to spread the word about the website. Twitter allows users to only use 140 characters, which is smaller than a traditional paragraph in print. That’s where this idea started to flourish.
Since I decided to use Twitter as my medium, I had to instill some standards, so it can completely sum up the game. So I decided each story must have the following things: the score (duh), the teams playing (which will suck when the Kings play the #Hurricanes), what number game it is in the season, and the player who scored the game winner. I also want it to have some personality, so it just doesn’t come across as a typical Tweet.
I’m going to have to allow for some abbreviation, (PP, PK, GWG, SO, OT, OMGWTFBBQ) since it would be virtually impossible to do and have it mean something. My game, my rules.
Finally, I wanted to be the first reporter to go on record. Meaning as soon as the buzzer sounds, I can file my 140 characters and lay claim as having the first official story of the game. After all, there’s such a push to get stuff first online right now in this hyperactive, never-ending media stream of information. This just fits into that frenetic pace.
But I also want other fellow writers to join me, since this experiment is no fun without other guinea pigs. So I added this last caveat: each story should include the hashtag #140Recap. Granted, it makes the actual story 131 characters, but I don’t know of another way to be able to quickly sift through Twitter to spot others’ writeups. That way, I can see what other creative ways to sum up a game fans can come up with.
Wow. My original plan on writing less backfired. At least on this recap. After today, I’m only going to file a screenshot of my Twitter page as my official story of the game. I still plan on compiling all the news stories from the traditional sites. But now, this should free me up to enjoy hockey more than stress about filling space.
If you’d like to follow along on Twitter, you can follow me @Hockeywood.