Twitter is where we tracked the manhunt for the alleged killer of two sheriff’s deputies. It’s also the platform that many Sacramento Kings fans have used to express their frustration with the team lately. It’s where the region followed – and mocked – the so-called storm of the year.
With nearly 300 million users throughout the world, Twitter has become what cable television news was 20 years ago. If O.J. Simpson had taken his infamous ride this year, we would have watched it unfold on Twitter.
This year produced memorable, funny and unfortunate moments in the Twitter-sphere. Major news events developed on the network, politicians conceded defeat in campaigns and Sacramento Republic FC, the city’s pro soccer club, became a force on the social media scene.
“Twitter is just so endemic of our time, when everything is in real time and we can watch things as they unfold,” said Thomas Dodson, a social media marketing expert in Sacramento. “You almost feel like you’re part of a story as opposed to being a passive observer.”
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Millions of tweets were sent throughout the year. The following are some of the memorable posts from the Sacramento region:
Second Placer County deputy shot. Both at SRMC (Sutter Roseville Medical Center). Actively seeking shooter in American River Canyon. – @PlacerSheriff, Oct. 24
Perhaps more than any other local news event, the shooting of two deputies captivated the region on Twitter.
On the morning of Oct. 24, Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Motel 6 on Arden Way. A short while later, Placer County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis Jr. was also shot and killed in Auburn, allegedly by the same gunman.
The search for the suspect lasted six tense hours. And news of the event unfolded on Twitter, led by regular updates by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. That first tweet from the department set the stage for a tragic day and was followed a minute later by this update: “Seeking same suspect as Sac Co shooting this morning.”
And then, in a sign of the times, the Twitter account made this announcement: “All info for media will be twitter. Can’t take individual calls now.”
Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County sheriff, operates the department’s Twitter feed. She was a friend of Davis’ for 18 years and said she watched him walk out the door to respond to the manhunt that day.
“I did what I had to do to get the information out,” she said. “On the one hand, (Twitter) was such a great tool to get that information out and on the other hand, it was such a surreal thing to be doing it for someone I knew for so long. I don’t know how I did it.”
It wasn’t just law enforcement that leaned on Twitter that day. Media outlets sent out hundreds of updates and heavy Twitter users – from journalists to social media experts – tweeted updates of the manhunt from information heard on police scanners.
Yes....Loving my Latino Caucus boys... – @LorenaSGonzalez, Aug. 21
In some cases, Twitter became part of the news in 2014.
State Sen. Ben Hueso, a Democrat from San Diego, was arrested in August on suspicion of drunken driving. A few hours before his arrest, one of Hueso’s colleagues – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez – posted a picture on Twitter of Hueso and four other lawmakers at the Capitol. All had drinks in their hands.
Gonzalez wrote the above message in her tweet. The tweet was later deleted.
Sacramento Republic FC capped off its wildly successful first season with a championship in the lower division USL Pro. With more than 13,000 tweets in its short history, the club has connected with fans on Twitter.
“It was important to us that @SacRepublicFC have a personality, that it be more than just a means of sharing information,” team spokeswoman Erika Bjork said. “Be it humor, empathy or an indomitable love for our region, there are people behind our club and that should also come through in our communications.”
The team also came up with a widely used hashtag to promote its campaign to join the ranks of Major League Soccer – #BuiltForMLS.
Game 1-A’s vs. Angels will be Thursday – @DeuceMason, Sept. 30
Deuce Mason learned a hard lesson about Twitter. Mason, a sports radio host on KHTK 1140, was the target of angry Oakland A’s fans when he sent out that tweet during Oakland’s playoff game against the Kansas City Royals in September.
The A’s were ahead 7-3 late in the game and Jon Lester, a dominant pitcher, was pitching for Oakland. Mason thought the game was all but over. Then the Royals came back and eventually won, 9-8 in 12 innings.
“I’m sitting at home watching and saying, ‘Please don’t let this happen, I can’t be the guy who jinxes this,’” Mason said. “I don’t believe in sports jinxes, but all I was thinking was, ‘I’m gonna catch such crap for this.’ ”
He did. Within minutes of the A’s loss, the Twitter hashtag #BlameDeuce was everywhere. It was mentioned so often, it started “trending” on Twitter in Sacramento.
“I know I had nothing to do with (the A’s losing), but it’s funny how one tweet can start anything,” said Mason, who maintains a good sense of humor about his infamous tweet.
Sacramento needed to have this discussion. I respect the decision of the voters. – @KJ_MayorJohnson, Nov. 5
While it can get some elected officials in trouble, Twitter has also become vital to politics and political campaigns.
Both sides of the strong-mayor ballot measure campaign in Sacramento relied on Twitter for messaging. On election night, the account for the campaign pushing the ballot measure – @VoteYesonL – was optimistic, despite early returns that showed the measure losing. Their post: “Only 1/3 of votes are in so far. Our hopes are high that the remaining 70,000 votes will pass Measure L and change our city for the better!”
About 13 hours later, there was a different tone. Mayor Kevin Johnson, the lead proponent of the failed ballot measure, conceded with the message above.
Dodson, the local social media expert, predicted that Twitter will become an even more important part of political campaigns – especially in Sacramento.
“We are an active and engaged community,” he said. “We’re also not scared to step into the fray.”
Local voices worth a follow
▪ Thomas Dodson, president, Selvage Media, social media guru: @shockthomas
▪ Girls on the Grid, midtown lifestyle blog: @girlsonthegrid
▪ Carmichael Dave, sports radio host, KHTK 1140 AM: @CarmichaelDave
▪ Erika Bjork, vice president of communications for Sacramento Republic FC: @eabjork
▪ Jeffrey Dorso, attorney: @JeffreyDorso
▪ Nick Miller, co-editor, Sacramento News & Review: @NickMiller916
▪ Laura Good, tech startup expert: @goodlaura
▪ Maya Wallace, homeless advocate: @mayagirl
▪ Cambi Brown, reporter, CBS 13: @CambiBrown
▪ Christopher Cabaldon, mayor, West Sacramento: @mayorcabaldon
▪ Michael Tuohy, chef: @michaeltuohy
Local hashtags of 2014
#Hellastorm, #NorCalStorm, #WeWantKarl
Twitter hashtags mark hot topics of conversations or major events.
The hashtag #NorCalStorm was used when the National Weather Service predicted a monster storm in Sacramento in December. As news outlets devoted major time to covering the storm, some Twitter users began using #hellastorm to poke fun at an event that failed to live up to predictions.
In recent weeks, Kings fans have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure with the team’s direction. After former coach Michael Malone was fired, a social media campaign was launched to advocate for the hiring of George Karl – who has won more than 1,100 games in his career – as the team’s next coach. The hashtag: #WeWantKarl.
And Karl saw it.
“I want to thank all of the @SacramentoKings fans & supporters for the very kind messages,” Karl tweeted on Dec. 22. “It has not gone unnoticed.”
Kings management has also picked up on the fan angst. Late Tuesday, team general manager Pete D’Alessandro posted a message on Twitter offering to sit down with local sports radio host Carmichael Dave and answer fans’ questions. A town hall-style forum has been scheduled for Carmichael Dave’s show Monday on KHTK.