Stephen Curry gets creative on social media
August, 10, 2012
By Patrick Dorsey | ESPN.com
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesStephen Curry uses all sorts of apps to connect with fans through his monthly "SC30" contests.
In January, a teenager named Jeff Lorenz made a trick shot. Then he used the video to enter a contest conducted by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. He won said contest, along with its supposed prize: a voicemail greeting from Curry.
Except Curry threw a party at Lorenz's suburban Philadelphia house instead.
"To see their faces when I actually showed up," Curry said, "there's nothing like that. It was a pretty cool experience."
The home visit isn't a regular thing for Curry, the 24-year-old former Davidson College sensation and Warriors standout. It really was an example of serendipity, with schedules lining up just right.
But the contest is a key part of Curry's social media presence, one that extends well beyond that of the typical athlete.
Curry's full-on social media plunge started about a year ago, when a man with a group called Spiracle Media -- run by former Charlotte TV people who covered Curry in college -- got an idea.
"I got to thinking, 'You know, he has a Twitter page that he really doesn't do much with -- he does what a lot of athletes do,'" said Bill Voth, Spiracle co-founder. "Here he is with close to 200,000 followers and really isn't taking advantage of it.
"Some people are naturals, like a Shaq. Other guys have great personalities and really want to engage with fans, like Steph, but could use a little bit of direction here and there."
So Voth approached Davidson, which approached Curry, who happily heard out the group, which gave him a strategy he couldn't refuse.
And part of that strategy involved the contest, called #SC30. Centered around the 30th of nearly every month, it always changes rules, always changes prizes -- and often changes apps.
For example, there was that trick shot contest, plus ...
• A Christmas Carol competition, which took place on YouTube and Twitvid and any other video-centric app.
• A Fan Appreciation Week, which presented all sorts of challenges on Twitter and Facebook (Curry is up to 361,000-plus followers and 222,000-plus likes, respectively).
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesWith new social media apps and games, Stephen Curry uses creativity to reward creativity.
• A Photoshop competition, in which fans were tasked to turn Curry into a photobomber.
• Most recently, Curry asked fans to draw special pictures for Curry's newly arrived daughter on the app Doodle.ly.
• In May, in lieu of a contest, there was a live chat on the program On The Air, which took place during a Miami Heat-Boston Celtics playoff game in June.
The ideas start with Spiracle; "Usually I go for a run and I start thinking [about it]," said Voth, whose company also represents Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ricky Berens. Often Spiracle will experiment with new or less-exposed apps like On The Air and Doodle.ly because, as Voth said, "they're eager to work with you because they want to get their word out there."
After nailing down these ideas, the group goes back and forth with Curry.
"And if I'm excited about it, we start the contest," Curry said. "They're pretty diverse with what we've done so far. No one's been the same, which is pretty cool."
Said Voth: "Steph is not just a bystander. ... Steph gives really good feedback. Some of the tweaks he gives [make] more sense than what we thought of. Because ultimately it is his thing.
"Steph is so open-minded with ideas that we come up with. They don't work unless (a) he buys into it, and then (b) he then follows through with it."
Curry himself is happy to follow through. He subscribes to the idea that for an athlete, social media "can be your own news outlet." And if it brings joy to fans, well ... just see how he felt when he showed up to Jeff Lorenz's house.