- Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt is one of the most fan-friendly players in the NFL today.
- Tuesday night he decided to take the concept of fan engagement to a whole new level. He gave fans a phone number on Twitter where they can text him.
- No, he hasn’t lost his mind. He is just taking advantage of one of the latest innovations in technology to better connect with fans.
J.J. Watt is genuinely beloved by football fans—and not just of his team, the Houston Texans. With the way he plays the game, his charity work, and how he embraces fans everywhere, he is one of those guys that is just hard not to like. So, rather than fight it, most football fans tend to adore the big lug.
Fans adore him and not just because he is a great football player that gives back all the time (and is a beast on Madden). He will go out of his way to interact with the fans. It is not hard to find videos of him online playing catch with kids in the stands before games, in Houston and on the road.
He has 5.5 million followers on Twitter, where he can often be found interacting with fans. Tuesday night, he decided to take that interaction to the next level by doing something considered foolish, stupid, and insane for celebrities like him.
He tweeted out a phone number so fans could text him.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 20, 2019
Many fans expressed some immediate concern for him. Did he realize what he was getting into? The ordinary fans would be bad enough, but then you also have the crazy ones, the obsessed ones, the jerks, and the trolls. You know—all of the people that love to post comments on Twitter.
As could be expected, he received quite a few text messages in a relatively short amount of time:
While many tweeted that they hadn’t heard anything, many did and shared their interactions with Watt with the rest of the Twitter-verse:
It may seem crazy, but it is true. Fans can now send J.J. Watt text messages. There is no guarantee you will get a response, of course (just like on social media). But if you do, it is from him, and he’s not the only one jumping on this trend.
Celebrities, like everyone else, grow weary of all the drama, negativity, and toxicity online. People often seemed empowered to let their worst side out under the protection of anonymity. To combat this scourge, many celebrities are just not active on social media anymore.
But the desire to connect with the fans is still there, so rather than waste time weeding out and blocking the jerks on Twitter, they are using a new startup tech company called Community. The company does not work with politicians but helps corporations, stars, and high-profile celebrities communicate via direct message with a mass audience.
Via the company’s website:
Community is a fresh start for communication. We understand the value of direct dialogue between you and who you care about. Community enables direct, meaningful conversations at scale. It’s a new way for community leaders to talk to community members — via text. Let’s start over together.
Along with J.J. Watt, fans can connect with stars like P.Diddy, Ashton Kutcher, Paul McCartney, Sophia Bush, and many more.
How Does It Work?
The star posts their number online for fans to text. An auto-message will direct them to follow a link so they can be added to the star’s contacts list. A second auto message will confirm being added.
The chances of getting a reply are probably about as good as getting one on Twitter. But if it happens—how cool would it be to get a text from J.J.Watt?