At 2:44 PM on Thursday, August 13, the Tampa Bay Lightning took a huge step forward on how NHL teams will be measured on how they use Twitter.
The Lightning’s Twitter team posted (AKA Tweeted) this message: “The Lightning are making a trade today. They'll be getting a player and a draft pick in return. More to come....”
It wasn’t from an anonymous hockey blogger, a fan or even one of their beat writers. It came directly from the team. Instantly, everyone who was flowing them on Twitter knew that Tampa was making a trade. And instantly, followers wanted more info. No doubt, page hits dramatically increased for Tampa’s website.
At 3:31 PM that same day, the Lightning finally broke the news of their trade with this Tweet: “The Lightning have acquired LW Drew Miller and a 3rd rd pick in 2010 from Anaheim in exchange for Evgeny Artyukhin.”
Not the biggest trade in the hockey world. In fact, the impact of his trade might be felt more off the ice and then on it by the way the message was delivered.
At this point, I believe 29 of the 30 NHL teams use Twitter. Until yesterday, the 29 teams used Twitter mostly to deliver promotional/marketing news and website updates. Some teams used Twitter to update their draft board at the draft, but that news was also available on countless other websites and Twitter accounts.
The Lightning not only broke the news of the trade, they teased it to everyone.
It was an excellent way for Tampa to drum up interest in a trade that would hardly make headlines in the middle August. It also increased websites hits and the amount of followers they have on Twitter.
Today, people are talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning acquiring Drew Miller and a 3rd round draft pick not because Drew Miller is the next Wayne Gretzky, but because Drew Miller will become the answer to a trivia question on a potential historic moment for the NHL and Twitter.