The Phoenix Suns have built a presence on social networking site Twitter, and now some local Twitterers and Suns fans are helping to bring Suns players and fans together via a site called sunstweets.com.
Several months ago, the Planet Orange presence on Twitter was started by Amy Jo Martin, Director of Digital Media and Research for the Suns, and Suns Public Relations Manager Krystal Temple. Soon after, they recruited Suns center Shaquille O'Neal to Twitter, who in turn recruited Steve Nash.
Shaq's enthusiasm for the site, in particular, has drawn tons of fans to Twitter and to the Suns. With so many fans talking Suns basketball on Twitter, it can be hard to catch all Suns-related updates. That's where Sunstweets.com comes in.
The new site aggregates all Twitter updates that contain keywords like "Suns," "JRich," "Shaq," and "Steve Nash," and puts them all on one page, with updates in real time.
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The site was developed by Ward Andrews and Joshua Strebel, two Valley residents who own local Web design companies (Drawbackwards Strategic Design and Obu Web, respectively). "Myself and Joshua Strebel realized that there were a lot of Suns fans on Twitter," Ward says. "So we decided to collect all Suns-related Tweets in one place."
Ward says that compared to other NBA teams, the Suns have a very strong presence on Twitter. "This has a lot to do with Shaq being on Twitter and the creative efforts of Amy Jo Martin on the Suns marketing staff," Ward says. "The Suns are pioneers in terms of what a sports franchise can do to connect with fans via social media. They do it the right way by offering information and access to fans. They build trust and provide a direct connection with players and staff."
Ward says traffic for the site has been erratic so far, but the response has been good. "[We got] 400 unique hits the night of the first game, then it went up and down," Ward says.
Ward and Strebel have also introduced a site for Arizona Cardinals Twitters called cardstweets.com, and a site called dbackstweets.com for Arizona Diamondback fans is also in the works.