NHL breakthrough sets Twitter on fire
Some Vancouver Canucks fans are using Twitter to call for a boycott of the NHL season after the league and players' union reached a tentative deal Sunday. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)
Vancouver Canucks fans pummeled Twitter and other social media networks with messages — both joyous and apathetic — after waking up Sunday to discover the league and players’ union struck a tentative deal ending the NHL lockout.
While some jaded fans threatened to boycott the truncated season to express frustration at the 113-day labour dispute, the notion of seeing their hockey heroes taking to the ice later this month thrilled most social media users.
At times, 80% of Twitter’s trending topics in Vancouver were hockey-related.
“Lets go. So glad. The NHL lockout has finally ended. Lets go Canucks,” tweeted user @rcsrocks.
User @FHDCope was even anticipating a post-season run by the home team when he tweeted, “happy day in canuckville now if my boys can get Vancouver a Stanley Cup.”
Clayton Mitchell, a marketing instructor and digital media strategist at BCIT and UBC, said people often treat sports teams as an extension of their identity.
“Social media allows them to express that extension,” he said, adding studies have shown people get a “rush” of dopamine to their brains when friends respond to their messages on Facebook or Twitter.
Mitchell added he observed three types of sports fans active on social media while news was breaking about a tentative end to the lockout. There were people excited no matter what, fans who still wanted the NHL to win them back and those who simply wished to express their own apathy over the news.
“That’s the funny thing,” Mitchell said. “They just want people to respond to them.”
Users such as @wroped tweeted, “NHL back, Who cares, seems the NHL and players didn’t. I’m boycotting it until next season at least.”
But Mitchell said it would be difficult for any sort of boycott to gain traction, noting consumer research shows it’s harder for people to make a decision when there are more choices available to them.
“Because you’re saturated with so many messages, it’s really difficult to unify (behind a single cause).”