Before the U.S. Open tennis tournament began this week, I had never heard of 18-year-old Laura Robson (@LauraRobson5), even though she won an Olympic mixed doubles silver medal in London this summer.
To me, the women’s game is dominated by the Williams sisters, Serena (@SerenaWilliams) and Venus (@VenusesWilliams), and a revolving cast of mostly unmemorable Russian players, except for Maria Sharapova (I couldn’t figure out her official Twitter feed — can you? Her site has a social section, but it only lists a Facebook account).
But 89th-ranked Robson, who sent former champ Kim Clijsters packing in the second round and disposed of world #8 Li Na in the third round, is punching above her weight in terms of getting attention — and not just because of her recent tennis success.
As Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) writes in this New York Times story, “Robson Popular Beyond Her Rank,” Robson is making good use of social media:
Her sensibilities about social media have made her a dominant online force, far surpassing her WTA ranking of No. 89. On Twitter, Robson has more followers (123,000) than the WTA’s top-ranked player, Victoria Azarenka (115,000). Robson also outranks the top American male players John Isner (110,000) and Mardy Fish (104,000).
While raw counts of Twitter followers aren’t always useful for comparing online influence (some folks goose their Twitter numbers by purchasing fake followers), it’s clear that Robson’s ability to use social media well has helped her.
As I wrote in my April post, “5 Social Media Lessons from @BubbaWatson, Masters Champ, it helps to “be yourself” online. And if you are an 18-year-old who is having a dream run at a prominent tournament, you should just relax and let your personality show through.
Here are examples of recent tweets by Robson that make her accessible to all the new people following her.
Upon hearing that former champ Andy Roddick will be retiring: “Wow. Roddick announces this US Open is his last tournament. Sad but wish him all the best in whatever he does next.” – A simple, honest reaction of a much younger player about an elder statesman of the game.
Upon arriving in NYC: “Just arrived in Manhattan and they are filming Gossip Girl outside my hotel. #gottaloveNYC” – Just like any teenager visiting the Big Apple.
After her silver medal performance in the Olympics, she must have come to the US, because she tweeted this: “Seems like there are 4 minutes of ads for every 2 minutes of Olympics coverage in America. Missing the BBC!” – Just the way so many people reacted in the U.S.
Continue reading the rest of the story on CNET