Twins use giant Twitter board at Target Field

Twitter, with its ubiquitous little blue bird, has become so popular that it's now estimated to have nearly 500 million users with 11 new users being added per second.

So it comes as no surprise that professional sports teams are using the Twitter as a means to engage in real time with their fans.

The Minnesota Twins are no exception.

Last year, they introduced what they call the "Tweet Board," which is a large board that in fact showcases tweets from Twins fans during home games at Target Field.

Page 2 caught up with Chris Iles, the corporate communications manager for the Twins, to get a better idea as to how the Tweet Board works.

What is the Tweet Board?

At Target Field, we display fan tweets on our right-field ribbon board during the bottom of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. We also display fan tweets throughout the game on more than 650 IPTVs (Internet protocol televisions) throughout the ballpark. We started doing this during the 2011 season.

How does the Tweet Board work?

Our VP of technology, John Avenson, wrote some software that allows us to search and select fan tweets from our scoreboard control room. The software interacts with our Daktronics game presentation software and Cisco IPTV system. In real time, we manually monitor and approve fan tweets during each game, which are then pushed to the ribbon board and 650 IPTVs for 40,000 fans to see.

Q: What has been the reaction of the fans to the Tweet Board?

Our tech-savvy fans love the Tweet Board. We've seen similar reactions to when fans see themselves on the main video board. "Hey, that was my tweet!" We also have a growing contingent of Twins fans that look forward to sending us tweets each game.

Q: Do you know of any other baseball teams or any other professional sports franchises doing anything similar?

I have seen a few other teams and businesses outside of sports using live tweet features. For example, the Red Bull Crashed Ice event had a tweet board, and I've seen them at various conferences. As far as I know, we're the first franchise to display live fan tweets consistently during all 81 home games.

You can follow the Twins at twinsbaseball.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.