I started sprinting and leaping like Sergio Garcia in the 1999 PGA Championship when my bosses told me to write 2016’s first “Teeing Off” column. You should have seen the expressions among other GIE Media “Green Team” editors when I attempted a running scissors kick inside our intergalactic headquarters.
We are using this space to introduce the 2016 Super Social Media Award winners. I like to write. I like to tweet. So, I’m writing about tweeting – and blogging, Facebook posting, Instagram sharing and video producing – in the same column.
We like to think of our GIS gathering as something bigger than just handing a few excellent communicators jazzy plaques.v#GCITweetUp16, which will be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at Aquatrols Booth #3132 inside the San Diego Convention Center, is about leaving your comfort zone. It takes courage to share your work on social media, where anybody with a username and password can see it. Stop by the booth and you will meet people who once harbored similar trepidation about mixing work and social media. These are the same people who now consider Twitter as valuable of a job tool as a rake or shovel.
More of you are taking the bold step of using social media for work purposes. How do we know this? GCI’s legion of Twitter followers has increased from 4,300 to more than 9,400 in the past 18 months. If you know of somebody in the industry thinking about starting a Twitter account, tell them to do it immediately. We’ve set high goals and we want to reach 10,000 followers by the end of GIS.
This year’s Super Social Media Awards nominations tell us more of you are using social media for work purposes. Dozens of qualified candidates from multiple continents made our final decisions as difficult as two-putting from 75 feet on a Pete Dye-designed green.
Selecting award winners represents one of our most difficult annual tasks. That’s a testament to the volume and quality of industry folk using social media. Lots of you bring your “A” games to computers and mobile device before, during and after exhausting work days.
Let’s hope everybody brings their best social media performance to San Diego. Who knows what connection you might make while roaming the show floor or sitting in a conference room? For those who can’t make it to San Diego, we encourage you to follow along @GCIMagazine.
The best sports writers make you feel like you are at the game, even if you are listened to the broadcast while running errands. Turf writers are no different. You can’t effectively do this job anymore without using punchy, colorful, visual and informative tweets. We vow to bring our “A-plus” game to San Diego.
We are also adding a new award to #GCITweetUp16: Megaphone Award for Outstanding Advocacy. Pat Jones described the significance of the megaphone last month. Enter bit.ly/1lXj95n into your web browser for the explanation.
West Coast irrigation consultant Mike Huck is the first winner of the award. He’s a fitting selection for numerous reasons, none bigger than for taking a leadership role as California superintendents handle the politics of a prolonged drought. Huck uses his Twitter account @IrrTurfSvcs to share news related to the drought. He gives the industry a credible and, more importantly, visible presence in a region where it’s often considered safer to keep quiet and hope a few steady rains silences golf critics.
The rest of our winners display similar boldness. They just might be capable of convincing someone to execute a running scissors kick during the middle of a work shift.
Paul Carter The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Harrison, Tenn.
Best Overall Use of Social Media
Rick Tegtmeier Des Moines Golf and Country Club, West Des Moines, Iowa,
Joe Wachter Glen Echo Country Club, St. Louis, Mo.
Best Twitter Feed
Eric Bauer Bluejack National, Montgomery, Texas
Paul Koch University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
Patrick Reinhardt Georgia Southern University Golf Course, Statesboro, Ga.
Joel Kachmarek Tacoma Country & Golf Club, Lakewood, Wash.
Brad Novotny Hillendale Country Club, Phoenix, Md.
Graeme Roberts Camberley Heath Golf Club, Surrey, United Kingdom
Megaphone Award for Outstanding Advocacy
Mike Huck Irrigation and Turfgrass Services, Orange County, Calif.