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Tennis Balls and Twitter Peeps; Deuce!

Tennis Balls and Twitter Peeps; Deuce!

Please welcome good friend Jayme Soulati to my sports analogy world. I met Jayme at Social Slam a couple years ago – which means we had even more fun together when we saw each other at the same conference a year later. We did not get a chance to play tennis together yet, but I appreciate her coming with an analogy involving one of my favorite sports.

I’m not sure I can concur with her assessment on Dunlop tennis balls, though. It’s Penn all the way!

Give Jayme a shoutout in the comments – make her feel welcome. ~ Brian

Along the top of this blog’s navigation menu is a list of clickable links to blog posts about sports. For all but one, I have a quick note:

  • In high school, I was probably the worst basketball player ever.
  • I played in the all-star co-ed 12″ softball game and ripped the webbing between pointer and ring man on my right hand playing second base.
  • I currently play USTA 4.0 tennis.
  • I just got my yellow belt in taekwondo (a miraculous feat)
  • I played flag football in Chicago rec leagues and LOVED the adrenaline rush.
  • I coached kidlet’s rec soccer for five seasons.
  • I work out, but should do more.

What’s that all got to do with anything?

It gives me seven good reasons why I can write here and belong…besides the fact that Brian Vickery made one of the first guest appearances for my Soulati Media On The Street series, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting him IRL twice.

Far-Fetched Sports Analogy

Whew, now that we have our bonding straight, let’s dive in and cover one really far-fetched sports analogy with social media.

As I play tennis about six hours weekly, I also pick up several hundred tennis balls using a hopper – that metal ball picker upper. If you try to jam three balls in between the grooves, you struggle. If you grab two balls at a time, there’s no problem. If there are oodles of balls collected in the corner, you kneel and use your hands; it’s faster.

There are so many ways to pick up tennis balls:

  • Do you first grab the errant singles spread around the service line?
  • Do you start in the corner of the court by the tarp and work toward the center?
  • Do you find the half-way mark and move right or left toward the corner?
  • Do you pick up the fewest balls and leave the most to others?

You absolutely get my drift. I wrote about tennis balls and business strategy once, but today, I’m just writing about tennis balls and Twitter. There is no right way to pick up tennis balls; they all get picked up regardless, but it’s sure fun thinking about it (work with me).

Twitter Peeps Are Tennis Balls

Now, think of each person you interact with on Twitter as a tennis ball. I’ll give you a minute to visualize all the peeps who tweet as a tennis ball.

They could be Wilson, Prince or Dunlop. They could have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 numbers. They could be Pro balls, training balls with dots or different colors.

All those balls in the corners, collecting? That’s your live stream of all the followers tweeting all day long. On occasion, you take a look and pick through a few for a good retweet; just like picking out the best balls to serve with.

How about the balls that are your favorite brand? I always liked playing with Dunlop best, perhaps it’s because it makes tires. Wilson balls always stink; they seem to lose their bounce fastest. Prince balls are decent, reliable; no complaints.

In your Twitter stream are there Dunlops you’ve favorited into a list to track what they say? How about the Wilsons who seem to be less bouncy with little energy? Do you unfollow or ignore? And, I love those Princes who aren’t really royalty, but they’re certainly loyal.

We’re not going into racquets for this piece, as this tennis ball analogy is as far fetched and grasping at straws as I can get. Eh, Brian?

So, the next time you hit your HootSuite dashboard and see the left-most column of hundreds and hundreds of tweets streaming in, take a peek in that corner to find the best ball and serve it up to your stream as a courtesy.

When you see a peep having a downer day, and perhaps he’s a Wilson, give him a volley with a bit of snap to share some energy for a healthy rally.

For those Princes you rely on as your doubles partner? Keep their feet moving with fancy content so the team wins the match.

But, remember this…every ball, regardless of whether it’s flat or bouncy finds its way into the hopper. That goes the same for your stream of peeps, too…treat each like a tennis ball and everyone gets picked up.

About The Author

Jayme Soulati is a hybrid PR professional offering a blend of digital, content and social media marketing with core PR and message mapping. She is author of Writing with Verve on the Blogging Journey available on Amazon Kindle and in print. She’s president of Soulati Media and a professional blogger.

Photo Credit: Sunday Morning Tennis by speedye, on Flickr

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Jayme Soulati

Jayme Soulati is a hybrid PR professional offering a blend of digital, content and social media marketing with core PR and message mapping. She is author of Writing with Verve on the Blogging Journey available on Amazon Kindle and in print. She's president of Soulati Media and a professional blogger.

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15 Comments

  1. Morning, Brian! I’m laughing again with this piece. I have no idea where I pulled it … wait, of course, out of the ball hopper.
    P.S. If you’re such a Penn fan, then what the heck is a Wilson doing in the image?
    Thanks for the invite; ace?

    • Soulati | Hybrid PR I have a friend who always brings his can of Dunlops…just because he knows he will be the butt of the jokes. However, those Dunlops last a LOOONG time.
      Wilsons just do not last long – Penns are the most consistent. I also like their practice balls (the pressure-less ones you can get in a bag) for staying lively for several sessions of serve/groundstroke practice.

      • dbvickery Soulati | Hybrid PR Shoot. I can never find Dunlops!! 
        Played singles match on clay and the balls got so wet, heavy. I have to do all I can to keep my knees healthy and play til I’m 100!

        • Soulati | Hybrid PR dbvickery I think the knees will be the “next to go” – I’ve already had surgeries on both shoulders and right elbow. Of course, hard court tennis is also tough on the back (discovering that right now…ouch).
          I know clay is good for the joints, but I do not like the surface. I play on it a couple times per year. I wrote a post about the different Grand Slam surfaces awhile back:
          http://brianvickery.com/2011/06/04/social-media-and-tennis-grand-slams/

        • dbvickery Soulati | Hybrid PR Yep; had that happen. Bent over and stood up; felt the back strain march across the lower back. Took to the ice and IB/Alleve for that day and was back on the court next day. Woah. Scarey.

  2. I had no idea (maybe a little suspect) that Jayme could kick my butt, I only have leather belt from the local mall! Very nice read and loved the tennis ball analogy which was obvious to satisfy Brian’s passion. GoodJob Jayme…rcb

    • Hah…bet you could kick some on the tennis court with your agility! Come to SoSlam in April! Brian and I are gonna duel! We could play some singles and then we can do some good dubs.

      • Soulati | Hybrid PR Randy can serve drinks on the changeovers ;)

  3. That’s why we only play with one can so we don’t have to chase balls all over the place. Penn is my ball of choice soft and hard court….
    Great analogy; except I’m the ball you hit over the fence and since you will have to walk all the way around the complex to get to me you have decided just to leave me there…:).

    • bdorman264 ROFLMAO, OMG…and, we did that in the last match…left you there in the puddle. LOL…I’m laughing so hard; yep, we did…never picked you up. 
      Just like the time you couldn’t pick up those girls, remember?

      • Soulati | Hybrid PR bdorman264 Then there are the balls that are EVERYWHERE in my garage. We try to collect them and drop them off at dog parks, so there is some use out of them.
        Those puddle balls can be your trick balls. Get your opponent to hit them and watch the water explode (while their arm feels like it’s going to come out of their socket because the ball was so heavy).

        • dbvickery Soulati | Hybrid PR bdorman264 Yeah, but, you know where girls put the balls when they serve? Not too sexy having mud up under your skirt and running down a thigh. Eh?

        • Um…mud wrestling – DUH!

  4. Lisicki WINS!

    • Soulati | Hybrid PR She has the game to win it all. I would think Radwanska is the next odds on favorite, but now entering 3rd set against Li Na. Kvitova has won it before, and I’m STILL pulling for Sloane!!