Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Honeymoon, revisited

CBJ fans will now be treated to "Social Howson."
Not to be confused with "Anti-Social Howson," mind you...
In the Department of Ironic Yet Certainly Unrelated Occurrences, I note that my piece on the original Columbus Blue Jackets honeymoon with its fanbase (complete with the subtext of "What happened?") was swiftly followed by news out of CBJ Central that General Manager Scott Howson will be both Tweeting and blogging (here's his first post).

Matt over at The Cannon thinks that these developments could be a sign of "another sign of the potential stresses between the Blue Jackets and the 'traditional' media in the form of the Dispatch that has been pointed out more and more this season," and he could very well be right.  I'll take a slightly different point of view and suggest that this represents an effort by CBJ marketing/PR folks to rebuild some of the emotional bridges that have frayed between the team and its fanbase.  Social media allows the user to connect, directly, to people who are hungry to feel like they're a part of something beyond themselves.  It also offers the user the ability to remove some of the filters that media - traditional and otherwise - force on public figures, which may be where Matt was coming from, but I think that the visceral connection is that important to the team, especially considering that season ticket sales apparently will be lucky to hit 8,000 this season.

The Blue Jackets can't recreate the magic of the inaugural season.  That's a one-time opportunity, and it appears to be an opportunity lost at this point.  They can, however, use the tools at their disposal to build (mend?) fences between themselves and their community of supporters.  Bringing their top hockey executive into the community of interest is a significant way to do just that.

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