The Virtual Fan Experience of #LaxTwitter
By Tari Kandemiri | Aug 13, 2020
Almost 9 years ago, a girl from Zimbabwe picked up a lacrosse stick and instantly fell in love. A year later, after complaints from her friends about flooding their timelines with lacrosse content, she decided to make a lacrosse Twitter account solely dedicated to lacrosse. That girl was me, and #LaxTwitter has become an integral part of my life! Back then there were a handful of lacrosse accounts and we interacted daily, just like we do now. Over the years, the community has grown and grown, becoming one big, loud, happy, and sometimes chaotic family. During the Championship Series, Lax Twitter was the place to discuss games in real-time, a fan experience like no other! Though we were not able to go and see the games live and in-person, the lacrosse community organically replicated the community feel of in-person games and found a way to have just as much fun. I was one of the many fans who stayed up for the later games, watching #PLLAfterDark, and tweeting into the wee hours of the night. Though sleep was on our minds, the opportunity to watch and cheer on our favorite teams was just too good to pass up. And though chirps and hot takes were exchanged, we all agreed that just having the opportunity bond over the game we love was something that brought us all a little normalcy during this unpredictable time.
20 games is a whole lot of games to watch and tweet, but somehow we all found a way to make it the most fun and exciting fan experience on earth. Citing the loss of her college season, Coach Sylvia Queener says that she’s been “missing interacting and meeting new lacrosse personalities and coaches at recruiting events and camps.” As a new joiner to the lax Twitter community, she found that watching professional lacrosse and being able to discuss it in real-time with other fans has been entertaining and engaging, inspiring her to keep growing the game. For Tyler Cunnington, an avid lacrosse fan, watching the Series was “amazing” and complimented heavily by the social media activity. He has found Twitter to be “an awesome place for both entertainment and terrific analysis,” with both the PLL and fans interacting to make it a fun viewing experience for all! “It’s felt like we’re all watching together in the same living room together,” - a statement I can totally relate to.
Joining the PLL team as an analyst, I took it upon myself to live-tweet games, in the same manner, I had previously done for games since the inception of my account - with creativity and fun. Though I love numbers and data, my favorite part of watching games is sharing my thoughts as each play happens and finding the perfect gif reaction when words just cannot suffice. Understanding that what made my lacrosse experiences even more exciting was having the opportunity to engage in dialogue with other fans from all over, I wanted to continue that and made sure to use my platform to not only share that lacrosse games were happening, but how to watch them and just how great it was for us all to talk about them!
What makes Lax Twitter special is both the people and the ways we have found to have really great and nuanced conversations about the game in bite-sized tweets. And even in the craziest of moments or the most zinging chirps, our community wakes up each day and embraces the game and each other as we focus on continuing its growth. The Series showed in real-time just how much fans old and new wanted to watch lacrosse on TV, and the fast pace of each game gave us so many things to talk about! I truly believe social media, particularly Twitter where ideas can be shared instantly, will continue to be an integral part of the fan experience and Lax Twitter’s explosion during the Series will be the perfect case study. I recently shared some clips of Team Golden Rocks in Uganda practicing, and the response from our community has been amazing. Many people have reached out to the coach and organized gear drives and fundraising for the players. Sometimes Lax Twitter can be chastised for negativity or competition, but the essence of the community I have been part of for years is what I see in these responses - a community rallying together to ensure our teammates around the world can continue to learn and play. Even in the wildest moments of games during the Series, many of us never forgot that mission. PLL athletes continued to battle on the field but cheered each other on in initiatives like raising money for grassroots organizations and awareness for social causes. I will see you all next season, and hopefully, I will be live-tweeting in person!
Below are some of my favorite tweets from the Series: