They’re not directly related on the surface, but even so, online poker and Twitter are two of the biggest Internet sensations right now. It’s no big surprise, then, that the two are having some unexpected influences on each other.
During the recent World Series of Poker tournaments, a lot of people followed the thoughts and actions of players by reading their tweets (and yeah I guess I’m gonna assume we all know the terminology here).
“Twitter has given the players an immediate voice,” PokerStars blogger/reporter Brad Willis recently told PokerNews.com’s ‘Dr. Pauly’ McGuire. “Two years ago, by the time a player did an interview about his play, he would’ve had hours to think about it, calm down, and think rationally. Now, anybody can be inside the players’ heads as they play and experience the moment almost as it happens.”
Indeed, Twitter, with its cult of instant gratification, is having a fairly large impact on the physical world of land-based professional poker. As Dr. Pauly writes, that really hit home during the recent WSOP action:
In the months leading up to the 2009 WSOP, Twitter was gaining momentum in terms of popularity and number of users. The platform, dominated by geeks and tech junkies for several years, was thrust into the spotlight after celebrities like Ashton Kutcher hijacked Twitter for their own promotional needs. As a result, more people were turned on to Twitter, including poker players who discovered useful ways to incorporate the new technology. At the very least, Twitter gave them something to do in between folding hands. …
Twitter is all about how the users choose to use it, yet not all pros use it the same way. Some pros felt that they needed to tweet about every hand they played. When Harrah’s or the floor staff screwed something up, we heard about it. And when they took a bad beat, we heard about it.
Yes, from the notorious fake Patrik Antonius to a whole crop of overzealous celebrities, Twitter’s presence was not only felt by the WSOP’s media coverage — you could even argue it dominated it.
Even so, how does this “Twitter Effect” affect Internet poker? How does Twitter influence online players? Does it?
Like in professional poker, Twitter obviously makes communication among players and the greater online community instantaneous, so it’s possible for online poker sites to network with each other, or be reached (and marketed to) very quickly as well. Sure, the Internet has always had this ability for instant communication, but never has it been more visible than with Twitter.
And, although the industry’s biggest online poker brands are already making the most of this new marketing channel, it could just as likely be an tool for lifting relative new-comers up to the big leagues more quickly than in the past.
And don’t think that the players you market toward aren’t plugged into Twitter. If nothing else, it should be considered as a marketing tool for you to reach out to potential visitors and get the name of your site in front of them. It’s a very easy (and cost0-effective) way to do that; nothing in traditional marketing can really stand in comparison.
So whether you love it or hate it — and there are plenty of people on either side of that equation — there’s no questioning that Twitter is having an enormous effect on the way people interact online, and that includes poker players. It may not last … it probably won’t last … so why not make the most of it while it does?
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