Tomorrow, thanks to Chris Stafford Radio, I’m recording my first ever radio spot to talk about the Australian women’s sport scene. I’ve been asked to do this not because I’m sports crazy and not because I’m an expert on women’s sport, but because I’m an active voice online in sharing sport stories.
We all know that as far as commercial media is concerned, women’s sport is practically a non-entity. Trying to find a game on the television of any sport played by women is like entering into a dark void unless it’s a highly commercial sport like tennis, Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games (if you’re a part of the Commonwealth that is). Even still, the men’s events are still given higher priority. It’s not exactly fair, but then business quite often isn’t.
And the televising of sport is definitely all about business and making money.
What do you do when you can’t be heard through the usual channels? You find alternatives and social media provides plenty of those. I use online newspapers through the Paperli service to collate content that appears on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and displays it in one handy “broadsheet”. I talk about my foray into “newspapers” in my 2014 post: I couldn’t find the sport news I wanted so I started my own paper!
I also retweet lots of other posts and share those few articles that do appear in regular newspapers. I’ve also subscribed to several webpages dedicated to women’s sport – specific clubs and sports as well as current affairs. I pick up links to those articles and share them with my followers. Using hashtags like #womeninsport helps spread the links further. Creating lists (Twitter) helps pick up posts from individuals and groups I’m not following yet. (Follow me on Twitter: @TrishAnders)
My theory is that the more the stories are shared the more our voices are heard. I am only one ripple in the ocean that is women’s sport stories. I’m not overly concerned about the speed of my audience growth. It’s not the size of my audience that matters but the consistency of the messages that are going out. Lots of ripples will create one hell of a wave or even better, a whole set.
Back to the radio spot. I’ve spent the past week brushing up on what’s happening locally. There is so much happening I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (just as well it’s not all televised because there is no way I could spend that much time in front of the TV). The beauty of it is that while I’m doing this I’m not only learning more about the depth of women’s sport in Australia, but also influencing those around me by talking about it.
Twitter and Facebook are just two avenues of story sharing, talking about it with your friends as well adds extra layers. Which is why tomorrow morning before work, I’m going to sit down and talk about netball, soccer, and football, and (hopefully) in the weeks to come, rowing, basketball, baseball, and whatever else I can discover about the world of women’s sport.