Twackling Sports

Is Twackle the sports fan's answer to the mindless maze of Twitter? Getty Images

If you tweet on Twitter about the Tennessee Titans, consider Twackle.

Let's take a step back. You know Twitter, the train-of-thought status message broadcast tool that is fascinating or pointless, (or both). Either way, it's a stream of information, buyer beware. Think of Twackle this way: Where a serious Twitter user might utilize the desktop application TweetDeck to keep an easier, more efficient track of replies and follower updates, Twackle serves the same purpose for a sports fan. It filters the insurmountable amounts of not just general tweets, but of sports-related tweets from fan, leagues, sports, team or athletes and aggregates them into more easily digestible categories via feeds.

For example, real-time tweets about the Chicago White Sox are here, while NHL tweets surface here. Users can also tweet and respond to other users via Twackle, and they'll see their updates go straight to their Twitter account.

Twackle is the brainchild of Octagon Digital, the online-focused branch of global sports marketing and representation firm Octagon. Right now, Octagon Digital has a two-pronged approach: Looking for new marketing opportunities for its athletes online and creating stand-alone Web-consumer communication properties.

Twackle is the first foray into the latter.

"You have this broad range of sports content (on Twitter)," says Octagon Digital CEO Jim DeLorenzo. "One, we wanted to help people be able to find it. And two, once they found it, help them manage it in a better way."

"If I find a news source on Twitter or some feed that is discussing the Yankees, it's one thing to be following that one feed. It's another to be able to go to our Yankees feed on Twackle and see what everybody is saying about the Yankees. You're increasing the amount of content and data that you can find by a significant amount."

In its current form, Twackle has been live for about a month, and DeLorenzo admits the back end of the site is constantly being tweaked to pull more sports content and to alter existing feeds via Twitter's API to their site.

But does having all this discussion and information on specific sports genres and teams provide too much information? Does bringing in a seemingly endless supply of discussion on a given topic bog down the quality of the tweets? Where does quality versus quantity come into play here?

"It's more of an art than a science," DeLorenzo says. "As you narrow stuff down, there's more of a risk of not pulling in stuff that may be related. So you sort of go back and forth. For any feeds where people have a problem with it or don't think that its on point, they should definitely just let us know and those are things that we should be able to address quickly."

Twackle on, Twitterati.


Mark Madsen has a blog. And though he doesn't seem to have mastered the video embed trick just yet, he is sticking up for his boy Shaq during all this "did he or did he not" flop drama with Dwight Howard that's recently surfaced.

"Now, I played with Shaq for three years in Los Angeles and while I did see the big fella sacrifice his body and step in and take charges, I never once saw him flop in those three years," he writes. "And the funny thing is that almost every team in the NBA tries to flop against Shaq. There are probably even coaches that teach their centers and forwards to try to flop on Shaq. So, this whole commotion about whether or not Shaq's play against Dwight Howard was a flop is so funny because everyone in the league tries to flop on Shaq and Shaq never flops back."

"The funny thing about this is the way the game is called on this type of play at the NBA and college level. Every year, an NBA official comes in and talks to every NBA team at the beginning of the season. One year, we were in this meeting and a Timberwolves player made the point that NBA players are strong and have good balance and that for an NBA player to fly backwards after getting hit is actually almost 'impossible' without the player faking it. The referee disagreed, but hey, I can tell you it's true."

Well there you have it, straight from the dancer's mouth. As you can see from that video, he knows quite a bit about flopping.

This offseason, the Eagles lost Brian Dawkins to the Broncos and Tra Thomas to the Jaguars. Donovan McNabb took time out on his blog to lament the loss of his teammates and friends.

"I usually don't remark about teammates unless asked but I felt it was necessary to share my thoughts on a couple of teammates that are no longer in Philadelphia," he writes. "I have been a part of the Philadelphia Eagles for 10 years and I have not played a game, attended a practice, sweated in training camp, built a playground or participated in a Carnival, and more importantly dreamed of a championship parade, without Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas being a part of it. We all had a goal of bringing a championship to this city and while we didn't achieve that goal, we have had a lot of successes during our time together. I was always confident that Tra had my blindside. When he was out there it was one less thing to worry about. As for Brian, mere words cannot explain what he has meant to me, our team, and the City of Philadelphia. He and I shared many things besides a locker room. We shared a passion for the game, a desire to make a difference, and dreams for better things."

See everyone, athletes do have feelings.

Early on in Spring Training, White Sox prospect Gordon Beckham was chastised by the team for not knowing who Harold Baines was. But according to Beckham on his blog, he did know who Baines was, he just wasn't quite thinking clearly:

"Now I would like to stop right there and clarify," he writes. "I was fully aware who Harold Baines was. I had met him earlier that week. I will admit that I did not realize the magnitude of the player he was in MLB history. What I meant to ask AJ was 'What's his number?' But being nervous anyways that I was hitting live BP in front of people who mattered, I didn't really think about what I was saying. So AJ, being very outgoing and witty, made sure that this moment was not forgotten throughout the clubhouse. Word soon spread and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was called out on a much larger stage."