If you’ve stumbled across this page, you’re likely familiar with the @BamaProUpdates Twitter handle. That’s something we started back in June 2012 to serve as a stream of tweets throughout the day that focused on the professional careers of athletes that competed at the University of Alabama. Largely inspired by Alabama’s string on national championships in multiple sports in 2012 and by the performances of a couple of Alabama golfers at that year’s U.S. Open, the Twitter account was launched the night of that summer’s NBA Draft to trumpet the possible drafting of a couple of Alabama players.
Noboby got drafted.
But we soldiered on. We had daily baseball activity, a major league debut in July, a gold medal at the London Olympics in August, and finally reached the NFL season in September. From there, the account took off, reaching 1,000 followers by the end of the season, and steadily grew to today’s level of roughly 22,000 followers.
Twitter has inherent limitations. The original 140 character limit was stifling, and while 280 characters covers most of our stat-line tweets, there are days when the medium doesn’t really accommodate a long-form post. A website would seem to be a natural next step.
A website also has an Edit button, which Twitter refuses to add.
We’ve toyed with a website a couple of times previously in blog form, but were never fully committed to the idea, and the blog would collapse in a couple of weeks.
So why now?
One of the reasons (or more realistically, “excuses”) we’ve never been able to get a website off the ground is that there is no offseason to do the front-end set-up to launch a site. That changed this year. With the global pandemic and the pause in practically all professional sports from mid-March until June (with some mini-tour golf exceptions), we actually had some time to do some front-end planning around our regular jobs, and established as a goal to go live by the launch of the NFL season. You can look around the site and say “I don’t see a whole lot of pre-planning,” and that’s fair, but it did give us time to decide what the site would be, pick out a template, and actually look at what other sites were doing.
There are a couple of other reasons. One of the things I try to impress upon some of my real-world clients who are self-employed is to find ways to create successor value to their careers. A Twitter account in and of itself doesn’t have a whole lot of sustaining value, but a website, along with its associated social media accounts might, so this just puts some of that into practice. And there must be some value to what we’re doing, because others have taken what we’re doing on Twitter and have incorporated it into their websites. So we might as well do it ourselves.
What can you expect from the website?
Well, for starters, Twitter will continue to be our primary focus. People follow us to see news about former Alabama athletes throughout the day, and that won’t change. At the outset, what we plan on posting here will be:
- Daily recaps of the day’s news, scores, and stats.
- Our Alabama Pro Athlete of the Week feature, which we publish on Twitter every Monday morning.
- Occasional feature articles.
- We’ve also posted a comprehensive resources page, where we’ve shared some of the database-type information that previously resided on our hard drive.
Side note: Though we use the “royal we” to an annoying level, this is still basically a one-person shop, run by an accountant whose previous publishing experience is a handful of tax articles. Don’t expect any Pulitzers.
We thank you for taking the time to check out the site, and, as we add more resources here, we hope you’ll find things of value here. Feedback is always welcome.