When Suns head coach @AlvinGentry first started tweeting, he credited his daughter for getting him to join Twitter.
So who better to go to for the second part of ValleyoftheSuns’ in-depth look at social media and the NBA than Alexis Gentry herself?
OK, so the head coach has only sent out a happy Fourth of July tweet since the draft lottery, but he provided some insightful commentary on the Suns’ season last year and promises to do so again this season.
Alexis answered a couple of my questions via e-mail about how her dad got on Twitter, what grade she’d give him as a tweeter and what she’s doing with her entertainment Web site, Trashwire.com.
ValleyoftheSuns: How did you first get into Twitter?
Alexis Gentry: I heard about Twitter from some friends who had heard about it when it debuted at SXSW. They didn’t have accounts yet, but they said it was kind of like the Facebook status updates. I set up an account for Trashwire (my website) and then set one up for myself soon after that. I was totally addicted to it! I’m a technology nerd anyway, so all the little iPhone apps and the entire category of downloadable software for it just made it better for me. Now, I can’t go more than a few hours without wanting to be connected to all my tweeps.
VOTS: What do you like most about it?
AG: I really like the way it’s become almost like a chat room. Twitter combines the best parts of text messaging, emailing, and IMing and I think that’s why it’s become so huge so fast. I love being able to track things that everyone’s talking about or to see how many people retweet things I post. It’s just a fantastic way to quickly spread information, no matter how trivial that information might be.
VOTS: Tell me about the conversation in which you got your dad on Twitter.
AG: My dad’s always been into technology, too–he and I are both nerds like that, I guess : )–and I think I was showing him some of my iPhone apps when I first told him about it. He had heard about it from Shaq, so he was curious to see how it worked. We set him up with an account during All-Star weekend and I kept cracking up because every time he’d get a new follower he’d say, “But why do any of these people care what I have to say?”
VOTS: How would you evaluate his tweeting performance?
AG: I would have given him a B or maybe even a B+, but since he hasn’t posted a tweet since July, I gotta downgrade him to a solid C : ) I know he’s been incredibly busy this summer, so I think he’s just forgotten to tweet a lot. I keep telling him he’s got to get back into it, so hopefully next season he’ll be the tweet master once again.
VOTS: Why do you think it’s so important for an NBA head coach like your dad to have a presence on Twitter?
AG: I think it’s important for everyone to have a presence on social media, whether you’re some dude in an office or an NBA coach. My mom (@psgentry) and my dad talk about it like it’s Star Trek or something, but I think it’s really cool that we have all these technological innovations that let us communicate with people on a global level. I really like the idea that I can put an opinion out there, like a 140 character movie review, and suddenly I can get feedback from other people who also had opinions about that topic. Just look at some of the biggest news stories of the past six months or so: we’ve been able to follow them live with info from hundreds of different sources thanks to the internet and social media. It’s fascinating because it can be whatever you want it to be. In terms of people in the public eye, I think it’s great because it’s very hard for them to communicate with fans one-on-one and Twitter really opens the door for that.
VOTS: What did it mean to you to take over the heralded @PhoenixSunsGirl account?
AG: When I saw that it was available, I scooped it up because I thought it was important for someone connected to the Suns to have it. It’s been funny though because I have three accounts now, @trashwire, @AlexisGentry and @PhoenixSunsGirl, and they’ve become like channels on your TV. I talk about sports on the @PhoenixSunsGirl account. I talk about movies, TV shows, and entertainment on the @Trashwire account, and I post opinions and other random thoughts on my @AlexisGentry account. It’s kind of funny how I’ve started to categorize my own thoughts now that I have distinct areas where I can tweet about them.
VOTS: Where do you see social media/Twitter going in the future as it pertains to the NBA?
AG: I hope that NBA players, coaches, and fans continue to use Twitter and social media. I think anyone in the public eye should use it (and I mean really use it, not hire someone to be a ghosttweeter) because it keeps them in touch with fans and the real world. I personally follow a ton of different celebrities on Twitter and I really like the ones who “get it” and don’t just use it as an advertising medium. It’s interactive, it’s social, and it should be fun. I do think public figures should get a little Twitter 101 because they could run the risk of giving everyone a little TMI.
VOTS: And finally, off topic a little bit, what has it been like to run Trashwire.com?
AG: I started Trashwire when I was in high school and it’s basically been the love of my life ever since. I was a Film Studies major in college and I always found myself getting into arguments with the film snobs in class who thought that box office success automatically cancelled out artistic merit, so I got really into writing movie reviews and moved it in that direction. In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m quite opinionated, so it’s been a fun place for me to share my thoughts on movies, TV, celebrities, and pop culture in general. Over the years, I’ve had tons of guest writers and I currently have two awesome guys (@chillathelaw and @Chris_Coffel) who regularly contribute reviews and articles. There’s no real formula to it, we just write about things we’re interested in. I’m always open to new contributors, so if anyone wants to submit a story, they can use the contact page on the site to send something to me.