Some people still find it hard to believe that the Kardashians have the influence they do within our society, but there they are. From PewDiePie to Sydnee Goodman, influencers are emerging from social media channels and gaining followers from seemingly nowhere. If you are imbedded in these channels, you can see and start to understand the creation but can still be a little amazed. How we communicate and the informal rules are changing faster than ever, and that includes how we follow sports.
If you want to get a good idea of where we are now to get an idea of where we are going, take a peek at these five sports influencers.
- Barstool Sports
This group, not without controversy, has been leading the charge with their influence on sports reporting. Starting as a blog, you can follow them on school-specific Twitter channels, their app, Snapchat, and really most anywhere else. Infusing humorous stories and videos of everyday people with their sports coverage, they have found a way to connect in ways beyond traditional SportsCenter could.
- Stephen A. Smith
Some of you might wonder how someone from Generation X made a list that you might feel is more deserved for Millennials and Gen Z. It’s because Stephen A. Smith has found a way to evolve. The same approach that gave Aerosmith top 10 hits from 1975 to 2004 is what helps keep this sports reporting icon a focal point. While the tried-and-true approach of print and TV built his initial popularity, he also runs a podcast and has made fantastic use of video on Twitter and Facebook to consistently spark reactions from both lovers and haters.
- Gary Striewski
Call this influencer-scouting. Though he has a modest following, his profile is a rising one. After trying a rotation of hosts, ESPN SportsCenter on Snapchat stuck with this Boston native. Watching his social media accounts, he has found the balance of work and life integration on feeds that allows followers to feel more connected, a recipe that has helped boost influencers in other areas.
- Carolina Guillen
Here is a Twitter superstar that does what the others don’t: She tweets in Spanish. But that is far from the only reason she has the following she does. She gives updated commentary on most major US sports plus world soccer. By paying attention (and doing it well) to the often ignored younger sibling and doing so in the native tongue of a growing population, she has attained 748K followers.
- Brandon Zingale
Here is proof that the American dream is alive and well in social media. This guy is not an EPSN analyst, newspaper columnist, or popular pro athlete. He’s a fan. He’s a fan, who did it better than us. His posts across social media channels has given him a following of six figures. His love of Ohio sports has him endorsing products from Subway to Stella Artois.
Though not a top-five list, these influencers give you an idea of how to do it and do it well. They have found a niche and have shown us that there is flexibility in how you do it. Of course, we will be in yet another place five years from now, but these names offer us a model on how to jump on this ride right now.