My father-in-law is a study in concentration when he watches sports on TV. In his den he sits before a massive HD TV with the sound off, just watching. In a way it’s as close to being there as you can get, minus the crowd noise and a breeze if he’s watching golf or more serious elements if he’s watching football or baseball.
Being a New Englander, I guess he gets the habit from too many years of watching the Celtics. If you followed the C’s in their glory years from the late 1950s to the 1980s, the only way to watch was with the sound turned off and the radio tuned to the radio play-by-play from the legendary Johnny Most.
Most earned his spurs in Game 7 of the 1965 Eastern Division Finals against Philadelphia. The game was tied in the last seconds and John Havlicek stole an in-bounds pass from Hal Greer. In a matter of seconds it was over. The call went something like this: “Greer is putting the ball in play. He gets it out deep and Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones…Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over…It’s all over!!”
What this recounting cannot convey is the adrenalin rush, the euphoria of winning a close contest, made more dramatic by Most just about losing his voice as he repeatedly screams “It’s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball and it’s all over!” That moment made generations of sports fans radio fans too and to this day, if we can get a radio broadcast of an important game we’ll turn it on. Second best is turning off the announcers and watching alone without the constant din of someone telling us what to think.
I have been thinking about Johnny Most and John Havlicek ever since tweeting became a competitive sport at live CRM events. When the analyst tribe attends a major announcement you can count on us to agree on a hash tag (unless the vendor has already suggested one) and the tribe goes wild transmitting minute by minute descriptions and analysis of the event to the world. Some of the transmissions are banal repetitions of what the speaker is saying, others attempt to provide spot analysis and still others re-tweet prior tweets that the writer agrees with.
Some people take this activity deadly seriously and keep score of how many tweets they make and how their score compares with others and I have participated in the tweet fest along with everyone else.
Today I am in San Francisco and in a little while Marc Benioff will announce an alliance with VMWare. There will be many analysts and press invited for the event and most will be tweeting the news as it happens. I am going to try something different today. I’m going to turn off my sound and listen to the whole presentation while taking notes. Then I will spend some amount of time figuring out the meaning of what I heard and once that’s done I will write my analysis of the announcement and publish it.
This may sound funny and incredibly retro but I am doing it to make a point. There may be good news reasons to tweet the play by play but I am not here as a news person. I am an analyst and my job is to dig into the news to interpret it and draw some conclusions. My conclusions may not be perfect, they may not stand the test of time, but analysis requires careful consideration of all the facts.
So good luck to the tweeters. I hope they all set world records for number of tweets. I’ll see you after the game.