Covering teams across the country, I have the chance to see a lot of "trends" develop. Last year, a number of teams put together lip-synching music videos that were most excellent! This year, a lot of teams are using Youtube and social media to let fans have "behind the scenes" access to the every day goings-on of a college softball team.
Let's take Texas A&M for example. The Aggies put together a social media project that they call "Aggie Softball S.D.R." Player-run, they've engaged fans from the start. Whether it be getting fans excited just to see what "SDR" stood for or making the most of time in the airport and asking some "burning questions" of their fellow teammates (my personal favorite so far), they've done a great job even in just a few weeks' time. Last weekend, the account experienced an "alumni takeover" when a trio of former Aggies (including Amanda Scarborough, Jami Lobpries, and Jamie Hinshaw) took the controls of the program and ran with it as the Aggies took the field against Mizzou.
In an underappreciated sport like softball, these teams rely on the fans more than anyone else, save each other, their families, and coaches. It's fantastic to see teams taking the initiative to engage their fans, to make them feel like they are part of the experience, that they're right there with them on the season's grind.
Another example is the Oregon Ducks' "insider" Facebook and Twitter pages. Also player-run, it offers more behind-the-scenes peeks and snapshots from a first-tier college softball team.
Even Youtube video series' like those that are being put out by the Golden Gophers of Minnesota are a way for fans to get to know more about their favorite teams, the players that wear their colors, and the young ladies that represent their school out on the softball field. The "Gophers Dish: On Their Hobbies" video is a favorite of mine, because, while giving it a humorous take, how dedicated these young ladies are to the game that they love.
My final example is this video, posted on Facebook by Allison Falcon. I'll let it stand on it's own, offering no additional words from me, except for an encouragement to watch the whole video. It's excellent throughout.
In summary, whether it's fans helping choose which uniforms the team is going to wear on a given day; getting to witness a layover-induced dance marathon or battle that otherwise they would never have seen, or just interacting with some of their favorite players and "their team", accounts and campaigns like this are good for all - good for the fans and even good for the players.
Aggie Softball S.D.R - Facebook, Twitter, Youtube
Oregon "Quack Pac" - Twitter, Instagram
Minnesota "Gophers Dish" series - Youtube
Allison Falcon/LSU - "LSU Softball in Palm Springs"
Indiana's Brooke Boetjer's "Quick Pitch" - on Youtube