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As social media has exploded into mainstream society, it has often been a major p.r. risk for professional athletes and other celebrities, who are just one click away from irreparably changing how the public may see them. But when utilized effectively, social media can be a major tool for athletes looking to expand their brand or show another side of themselves.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence definitely has a strong combination of personality, competitiveness and social following. He was an early adopter to Twitter, creating an account in July 2010, and he has amassed more than 394,000 followers.
“It was interesting, when I first came up through the minors social media was frowned upon,” said Pence. “Being one of the early ones on Twitter, it wasn’t very accepted by my teammates, but as it has grown and shown to change the world and people have learned how to use social media it has become very accepted and people are now using it in creative ways. It is really great access to have with your fans and vice versa, and when done well everyone can have a lot of fun with it.”
This social media success on Twitter as well as Instagram has led Pence to partnering with Oberto Beef Jerky on “Pence-ive Moments” digital series, which will focus the benefits of its high-protein products, a type of diet Pence adheres to himself.
“They wanted to open up my crazier side and do something that shows how I look at the world a little differently than most,” Pence said. “I’m very happy though to be apart of the Oberto campaign though, which focuses on a healthy lifestyle and being active and being out in the environment. But I of course wanted to have fun with it with the crazy thoughts as well, and I had a great time shooting it.”
While Pence likes to have fun off the field on social media and on the field as much as possible, he takes physical fitness and training very seriously. Pence’s meticulous workout routines allowed him to play 154 or more games in his first eight full seasons in the big leagues, including playing in all 162 games his first two full seasons with the Giants. He entered the majors in 2007 with the Houston Astros, and he has seen technology tremendously in the 10 seasons since.
“There is definitely a lot more things we can take advantage of from written studies to wearables to even testing your nervous system day-to-day,” said Pence. “You can really use technology to test your swing and try to avoid getting into bad habits as well the major advances in nutrition and really taking your diet seriously and how it effects your performance on the field. I would say since I entered the big leagues the focus on nutrition and its importance is something that has evolved a great deal.”
Technology has not only impacted the training side, but has also given fans the insight to the real ball players and not just the one they see on the field for a couple hours a day at the ballpark.
“I think the biggest thing with technology though is that it has allowed fans to see the real side of professional athletes and the personalities we all have that aren’t often seen,” Pence said. “Deep down we are all just goof balls that enjoy playing the game that we love, and I really enjoy being able to connect with fans and show them a little more about my life off of the field and a little into my personality that might not show all the time when I am in the middle of competition.”