For many of us, social media is the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we look at before we go to bed at night. It has taken over our lives. It has allowed us to become connected to people we never would’ve met otherwise. It also allows us to feel connected to our favorite team, whether we live in the same city or far away.
I thought I would take a look at what a day in the Dodgers social media world looks like. Sue Jo, one of the people behind the Dodgers multiple social media accounts, was gracious enough to grant me an interview and give a little insight to her world. I enjoy following Sue on both Twitter and Instagram, where she shows some of the behind the scenes fun and motion of her day (and takes some excellent photos, I might add).
TBPC: How did you come to get a job with the Dodgers?
Sue Jo: I went to school to study broadcast journalism in Chicago. Sports and news have always been something I was passionate about. For me, both represent something greater and meaningful in my life. I was born in South Korea and came to the U.S. when I was 5 years old. I didn’t know English and neither did my family. News was something that my parents always told me I should watch because it was important to know what was going on with the world. It also helped me understand and hear how sentences should be formed and how they should sound. Sports were another thing that I got into when I was young. I would just flip through the channels and would randomly start watching football and baseball. I didn’t understand any of it but I just kept watching it and fell in love. I think it gave me a sense of community. It didn’t matter who you were, what you looked like, what your background was…you were all there to support one common thing and that was the team.
Anyway, as soon as I graduated, I was offered a position as a news writer with the local Fox station in Chicago. My job was to write all of the news for the morning newscast that the anchors would read on air, and I would cut and edit video to match that. It was a highly stressful job. I worked there for a few months and then I was offered a better position with NBC in Chicago. I was a Content Producer there, essentially doing the exact same thing but a little more. I also wrote for the morning newscasts there and would edit and cut video as well. I also produced some live segments with reporters so it was a heavy load. I did that for about two years and truly wasn’t happy towards the end. My shift was from 1am to 9am!!! I wasn’t feeling the love I had for news anymore.
Right as I was feeling all of this and wondering if I should move onto other things, I won an Emmy for a segment that I produced, which was about a small plane crash in Chicago. As soon as I won…I felt that it was time to move on. I felt like that was the closure that I really needed and knew that after winning the Emmy, I could close that chapter of my life. A lot of people were shocked that I was leaving, my parents included, because it was a great job and paid well. As I mentioned earlier, sports has been a huge part of my life and I knew that even if I was never paid to work in sports, I would still enjoy it. That’s how I knew I needed to be in it.
So, just before I left NBC, I started working for MLB on the side as a Real Time Correspondent. My job was to gather social media content for the White Sox and the visiting teams. I would cover batting practice, pregame, and roam the stadium for scenic photos and interesting stories that MLB or Cut4 could write about. I went to work every day and enjoyed every minute of it. It confirmed to me that I needed to work in sports full-time. After doing that for a full season, I reached out to MLB and they had new positions called the “In-Game Social Media Coordinator.” It was to live-tweet every game for whichever team was looking for one. I’m originally from Chicago but I’ve always wanted to move to California because I loved it there. I reached out to MLB and they gave me a few options and the Dodgers were one of the teams that were looking for one. I applied, interviewed and got the position and the rest is history.
TBPC: How long have you worked for the Dodgers, and were you a fan of them before you worked for them?
Sue Jo: This is my third season with the Dodgers. The first two seasons, I was employed by MLB as an “In-Game Social Media Coordinator.” I am no longer with MLB now and this third season is my first as a full-time employee of the Dodgers. I have always admired the Dodgers from afar, especially with the Korean players they had. The Dodgers are a historic organization and even back in Korea long ago, everyone knew about the Dodgers, Yankees, etc so I was always familiar with them.
TBPC: How many people are on the Dodgers Social Media Team? Are there certain people assigned to each of the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Photoblog)?
Sue Jo: Currently, our team consists of two full-time Dodger employees dedicated to social. It’s me as the Social Media Coordinator and Matt Mesa as the Manager of Social Media, Digital & Print Content. On the MLB side, we have an In-Game Social Media Coordinator (my old job). She has been handling our Twitter in-game for the past month now. Having her here this season allows me to dedicate more time to Instagram story and Snapchat, among other in-game things like finding the fans who catch a home run ball. Matt and I split duties on Facebook, Instagram and our Photoblog.
TBPC: How do you decide what goes on which platform? Do you work with Jon SooHoo or take your own photos?
Sue Jo: We always try to put up the best content on each platform that we have. We also cater it to each platform. Something that works for Instagram may not work on Facebook and vice versa. Jon takes the photos and sends them to us as soon as he captures the shot and we’ll post it. During batting practice and pregame, a majority of the content comes from me taking my own photos or videos. We also have a photographer that’s employed by MLB that sends us photos as well.
TBPC: What is a typical day like for you?
Sue Jo: As soon as it’s time for batting practice, I head down to the field and start capturing content for all of our social platforms. After BP, I start covering pregame duties. If there’s a certain celebrity or anthem singer, I’ll meet up with them and have them do stuff for social. I also capture first pitches for IG story/Snapchat and #ITFDB. Then I will roam the stadium for some around-the-park content like capturing fans cheering or taking photos of food (that always does well on our accounts). Then, if one of our players hits a home run, I track the person who caught the ball and take a photo of them for our #DodgersHRcam. That’s something that we started doing this year. It’s a fun way for us to engage with the fans.
TBPC: Could you elaborate on that a little bit on the home run balls?
Sue Jo: That’s something we started this year and we’re really excited about. Before, I wasn’t able to leave the pressbox to do something like this because I was in charge of tweeting and handling Facebook. But now that we have an extra set of hands this season, I’m able to do it. As soon as one of our guys hits a homer, I’ll check to see where the ball landed and make my way to the outfield. I’ll find the person who caught it and I’ll take a photo of them holding the ball. I sent that photo to Matt immediately and he puts the graphic together. It’s really fun for us to engage with the fans this way. I believe it adds a little something and enhances the game experience. The amount of excitement that these fans have as soon as I ask to take a picture of them with the home run ball is something I wish everyone could see. For that one moment, they’re a kid again. It’s just pure excitement.
TBPC: How do you handle away games? Do you or others travel with the team?
Sue Jo: Our In-Game Social Media Coordinator will cover Twitter for the away games as well. I will handle Facebook and Instagram, along with our Photoblog. Matt and I will only travel to big series and of course, playoffs.
TBPC: You have millions of followers across so many sites. How do you deal with negativity? Is there certain things you look for when responding to fans, (birthdays, etc) or is it just random what you happen to see?
Sue Jo: We tend to not pay attention to the negativity. We understand the frustration that fans feel. Sometimes we’ll pull back on certain things if we feel like there’s a lot of negativity going on but again, we try not to focus on that. We like to focus on the positives and all of the fans that always support us, good or bad. Fan engagement is something that is really important to me. I’ve made it a mission since my first season to interact with fans and to build a relationship with them. We genuinely care how they are and how their life is going and if it’s their birthday, graduation or taking a final. There’s been multiple times when a fan has asked us to wish them luck on a final and we do and then follow up within the week or even the day after and ask how it went. They get so excited that we do that and for me personally, it makes my day more than it makes theirs. It’s truly about building that relationship with them…that we appreciate them more than they’ll ever know. We’ll also wish them a happy birthday or wish them well when they’re not feeling good or have a bad day. We also send fans graphics when they tweet us photos of their first time at Dodger Stadium. It’s just another thing we like to do to enhance that game-day experience.
TBPC: Do you have much interaction with the players, or do you mostly just observe and record?
Sue Jo: There are times where we interact with players on certain things and there are times where we’ll just observe and record. It all varies on the day/situation.
TBPC: Do you pay attention to other MLB teams’ social media accounts?
Sue Jo: I do. Not only just other MLB teams but all social media in general. I like to see what other leagues are doing. We see what works, what doesn’t and how we can do better etc.
One can see why the Dodgers are well represented in the world of Social Media, thanks in part to all the work that Sue does to enhance our lives on line, through wins and losses and everything in between. My thanks goes out to Sue for her candid and insightful answers. You can follow Sue on Twitter @SueJo825 and Instagram @suebaaby.