You know it is inevitable – that is social networking functionality will eventually infiltrate just about every web site on the planet. Now, my favorite basketball team, the Phoenix Suns, have embraced social media with the launch of PlanetOrange. PlanetOrange is the team’s new site, which was created in conjunction with KickApps, featuring iStreamPlanet for this white label solution. Based on Microsoft’s Silverlight technology, iStreamPlanet offers the site’s streaming media player.
I just finished signing up and adding information to my profile. PlanetOrange includes most of the typical functions you’d expect to find in a social media site. You can create a personal profile, share media such as video and audio files, write blog posts, participate in discussion boards and even friend other people. There is even a function that will allow you to subscribe to other PlanetOrange members which allows you to receive updates when they add videos, photos, audio files, and blog entries. All the while, the Suns get a new and direct connection with fans, for all sorts of promotional purposes.
Let’s talk about the media. PlanetOrange includes some behind-the-scenes footage that provides a more in-depth look into players and coaches as well as user-submitted videos. Additionally there are audio and photo sections, all of which allow members to contribute their own media, share among friends, comment on specific items and even rate them.
The Blogs section seems to incorporate the blog posts of individual members. Finally the site has a Groups section where you can join and even create your own groups. I just joined one called “The Anthem Suns Fans Group” (I live in Anthem). There is currently only one other member. I wonder if it is my neighbor who is a Suns fanatic?
The Phoenix Suns are not the first to launch a social media site and certainly won’t be the last. The Utah Jazz and Indianapolis Colts have launched social networks in the past few months and I’m sure we will see the trend continue, not only with sports and entertainment sites, but within business sites as well.