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Don’t Miss Out on Social Media

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

With the recent 10 year anniversary came lots of articles and blogs asking what would 9/11 had been like if social media was available at that time. Some of the pieces were good and thoughtful others were, well, not. Either way, it got me thinking of other events or careers that could have been radically different had Twitter, Facebook or even YouTube had been available in a different time.

There are any number of characters from recent history that could make an interesting ‘what if’ subject. What if John Lennon had Facebook or Joe Namath had Twitter back in the day, but whereas I enjoy to follow the beat of a different drum (hint for part II), I’ve decided (in a two-part post) to look at the hypothetical scenario featuring a couple of less obvious personalities.

Long before Buster Douglas shocked the world by knocking out The Badest Man on the Planet, Mike Tyson, Leon Spinks defeated The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, in one of the most historic sports upsets. Of course Spinks lost a rematch to Ali less than a year later and would never again recapture the title or the popularity he briefly held in 1978. But, what if he had a @NeonLeonSpinks Twitter handle?

Spinks, who’s love of the night life was often blamed for his exceptionally short rein, could have been a long time world champion tweeter. Remember, this was a time when boxing was a popular mainstream sport and Spinks was just a couple years removed from winning the gold medal in the 1976 Olympics (yes, Olympic boxing mattered back then too) and he was a fighter people could relate to and more importantly a guy the public wanted to like.

Put Twitter in the hands of that guy and there is no telling what would have changed. Twitpics from night clubs, incoherent late night rants, trash talking, etc., Spinks’ social media presence could have taken any number of directions.

Think of the social media following he would have built up with 3 a.m. tweets like:

NeonLeonSpinks: Who wants to buy a drink for the heavyweight champion of the world?

NeonLeonSpinks: I’ve been the undisputed heavyweight champion for three weeks and I haven’t slept yet.

NeonLeonSpinks: Anyone think they can out party the man that beat The Greatest?

Could interacting directly with fans have convinced Spinks to actually properly train for his rematch with Ali?

@NeonLeonSpinks: hey Leon, I’m a huge fan, but I’m worried about your recent twitter stream showing you out late at night when you should be training. Don’t let us down champ.

@NeonLeonSpinks: You outworked everyone in the Olympics and you out fought The Greatest. Don’t lose sight of what got you here.

Alternatively, Spinks could have used Twitter to get Ali back in the ring for a third fight. There is no telling how a third fight could have changed his career. Ali temporarily retired after winning the rematch, but what would have happened if this young upstart who had just gone 30 rounds with Ali in less than a year, had publicly called out The Greatest for the fight to settle it all. Heaven knows Ali was never one to back down from a challenge.

NeonLeonSpinks: @AliTheGreatest: hey old man, I gave you a rematch, so how about you return the favor? RT if you want to see me beat Ali again. #SpinksAli3

NeonLeonSpinks: @AliTheGreatest: Champ, you used to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but now you’re old so RT unless you’re afraid of #SpinksAli3

NeonLeonSpinks: I’ll bet my gold medal vs his – @AliTheGreatest RT if you demand #SpinksAli3

Easy to picture Spinks with his signature gap toothed grin Avatar capturing millions of followers. Had he tweeted about the lifestyle he was living after becoming world champion or calling out Ali for a third encounter, Neon Leon would have been a must follow.

Fine, maybe Twitter wouldn’t have changed the course of his career or his life post- 1978, but maybe, just maybe it would have. Even if social media didn’t change the outcome of his career and his life, it would have been a hell of a read these last 33 years.

Leon Spinks didn’t have social media at his disposal, but we do, so don’t miss out. You don’t want to look back in 2044 and wonder – what if.

Next post: What if Michael Nesmith had social media?

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