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Bemidji Pioneer sports page now available on Twitter

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At first, Twitter was a mere curiosity.

But it grew and became popular when Ashton Kutcher became the first Twitterer with one million followers. When Oprah started Twittering last month, it went mainstream.

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Count us in.

The Pioneer's sports page is now available on Twitter, a free micro-blogging service on the Internet that can be accessed through computers, phones and other media devices.

The Internet address is www.twitter.com/BemidjiSports

BemidjiSports on Twitter officially launched last Tuesday and attracted 30 followers by Saturday night.

As the Twitter administrator for BemidjiSports, I hope that number will continue to grow.

The primary goal for The Pioneer's sports page on Twitter is to deliver real-time local sports information as much as possible.

Scores reported to The Pioneer will be posted on BemidjiSports in a timely fashion as we receive them.

That means if you want to know the score of the Bemidji High School baseball game before it gets into the paper or on bemidjipioneer.com, follow BemidjiSports on Twitter.

BemidjiSports followers who are connected to a mobile device will receive the update immediately as it is posted.

These brief updates will include Bemidji High School athletics, Bemidji State University athletics, regional high school athletics and newsworthy recreational sports.

What makes Twitter unique in the blogosphere is that all postings must be fewer than 140 characters.

That does not leave much room for information other than the basics: Sport, score and where the game was played.

In the middle of the night after The Pioneer goes to the print press, the scores will be updated with a link to the full stories on bemidjipioneer.com.

As the administrator, I do not want BemidjiSports to be a one-way street of information where information is delivered to you.

Those who have Twitter accouts and follow our Twitter page can let us know about breaking sports news, scores or offer a sports news tip that could lead to a story running in The Pioneer.

I want BemidjiSports to be interactive as much as possible.

The Twitter community is large - the company claimed seven million users in February - compared to 475,000 users in February 2008.

It's catching on in the sports world.

BemidjiSports is following national sports figures like Southern California head football coach Pete Carroll. We also follow regional stars in Twins slugger Joe Mauer and Timberwolves rookie Kevin Love.

BemidjiSports also follows our local athletes.

Bemidji State men's basketball coaches Matt Bowen and Jeremy Tiers are Twittering, as are players Jake Lindstrom, Seth Haake and former player Gunther Zajic.

BemidjiSports also follows Bemidji State men's golfer and NSIC Champion Mitch Mackedanz on Twitter.

BemidjiSports has notable media following us. The list includes ESPN, WCCO, KSTP and several of the Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

I would like to see you, the Bemidji sports fan, on that list.

Earlier this week, I put a question out on Twitter asking the Twitter community why Twitter is useful.

Within minutes, Waseca (Minn.) County News Publisher and Editor James Anderson responded.

"First reason: I get news from reporters before it's on news sites," he wrote.

In less than 140 words, Anderson summed up why the service is valuable.

Beyond delivering timely information, BemidjiSports will also link to stories around the Internet that the Bemidji sports fan may be interested in.

Currently posted on BemidjiSports is a story from the Winnipeg Sun on BSU men's hockey alum Matt Pope, who is finding success in the AHL playoffs playing for the Manitoba Moose.

In time, we'll be live blogging some events through Twitter and finding more ways Twitter can connect The Pioneer sports page to you.

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