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Dodgers among torchbearers of Twitter

Dodgers among torchbearers of Twitter

Dodgers among torchbearers of Twitter
A handful of Dodgers stars may not be tweeting, but the Dodgers organization as a whole, as well as its biggest star, Matt Kemp, has embraced plenty of new social media options.

Thursday marks National Social Media Day, and it's a chance to take a look at what the Dodgers have done, especially in 2011. Since changing their Twitter handle from @dodgertownUSA to @dodgers this offseason, the organization has doubled its followers.

The club has rewarded those new followers with plenty of important news and information. Team spokesman Josh Rawitch typically handles the account, tweeting lineups, injuries and news when it is released to the media. The team even offers ticket discounts through Twitter and Facebook that Rawitch said it doesn't usually publicize elsewhere.

The Dodgers have also sponsored giveaways through Facebook and Twitter. "Twitter Tuesdays" have become a weekly event where the team gives away prizes whether the Dodgers are at home or on the road.

In what may have been the most exciting of those Twitter giveaways, the Dodgers gave away a spot in their Dream Foundation Golf Tournament earlier this month. Dan Halpenny, a U.S. war veteran and lifelong fan, was nominated by his friend through Twitter and earned the chance to play with past Dodgers greats on Trump National Golf Course.

Social media is becoming such a part of the Dodgers organization that Rawitch said the team is now looking to specialize in it by hiring a social media coordinator.

"Social media has become a very important focus in our communications and marketing efforts with our fans, as we're currently seeking to hire a social media coordinator, focusing our efforts on someone who has had this role at another well-known team or brand in the past couple years," Rawitch said.

As for the players, Kemp is one of the only Dodgers who tweets regularly. Clayton Kershaw doesn't care much for Twitter or Facebook -- he prefers to keep his focus on the field. Tweeting isn't for Andre Ethier either, and James Loney has an account but has never posted on it.

But @TheRealMattKemp tweets on a daily basis. Kemp typically tweets after games looking forward to the next day's contest, while offering his thoughts on that day's events.

"Booooom!!! Good win 2nite!! Target field is an incredible stadium. Let's get another win 2morrow," Kemp tweeted after the Dodgers' victory over the Twins on Monday.

Last week, Kemp interacted with fans through the Dodgers' first "Twitter chat." He responded to questions, and by Friday afternoon, #AskKemp was the second-highest trending topic in the area.

Twitter has also helped Kemp in All-Star voting. With the voting ending Thursday, the #VoteKemp movement is one last push to get Kemp -- currently at No. 4 among outfielders -- into the top three and a starting slot.

AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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