We have been hearing about social media, the role it supposedly played in protests, revolutions and some times even in regime changes. But what happens in sports, especially in India? While all the international sporting events do trend on Social Media, here in India with the surge of smart phones, a quiet revolution is taking place.
Social media has helped the enthusiast to be closer to the action. For instance take football, we are at point where we could track state league matches happening in Mizoram or Arunachal and at the same time listen to some quirky over the top rumors of foreign players that are going to play in the I-league.
The only struggle is to the be in the right network. And If you are in, bits and pieces of information, multimedia in pictures and even videos would dot your timeline. And that is how the unfortunate gallery collapse video from Bekal, Kerala went viral world wide.
On 15th December before a seven a side match, the gallery collapsed. There were innumerable people filming a small kid juggling football on the ground and there the gallery sunk in like a houdini act taking down 100s of people. Within hours the video was up on youtube being watched and shared by many. Eventually we saw it appear on Telegraph.co.uk!
Pictures, score updates, posters of upcoming matches, almost everything that you need is on social media today when it comes to football. There are also Clubs, players, administrators and media on social media who intervenes in the streams of conversation on sports.
The sports educationists are in there too. Academies, schools, Training camps, all of them are using social media to engage and publicize their efforts.
There are lively communities and discussion boards where not so gracious people fight over and also have meaningful discussion on the sport. There are #hashtags that you can follow to stay updated on sports. For football in India, #Indianfootball and #ileague offers constant stream of information.
The real attraction is also about getting to know the sport in your backyard. A Seven-a-side football fan from Kerala can stay updated himself through scores, pictures and videos on the go. Sporting attractions which were largely local and not in the mainstream gets more traction through social media, there by increasing the interest of people.
Social actions such as crowd funding and crowd sourcing could be a good way forward for sports in India. The recent example of Winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan is a move in that direction. Mobile data and applications such as Whatsapp and other messengers are also helping the fans and supporters to engage real time.
While we mainly track football we have also come across fan pages and twitter profiles for other sports too. Social media is forging a new way in India for sports, it has changed the way enthusiasts enjoy their sport.