We live in a hyper-connected world in which people stream their weddings to the Internet, share their location constantly via their mobile phones and, ultimately, can bring total strangers together from all around the world, for many years at a time, to play fantasy football. With the flick of my finger I can send a message to someone on the other side of the planet. Today is a great time to be alive!
While we have this capability, we don’t always use it, or even foster it, in many leagues. Communication and interaction between owners is paramount in any successful dynasty league. The more engaged owners are, the more vibrant and enduring a league will be. Owners are able to develop relationships and can better understand what makes everyone “tick.”
With communication being so important and the vast number of tools available to dynasty leagues, it’s downright criminal, and extremely lazy, if league commissioners aren’t working to connect the owners in their leagues! If you are one of those commissioners I’m talking about, get on the ball and get your league connected with the following resources:
If not for Twitter, many of those involved with DLF wouldn’t even know one another. Twitter allows for connection with a vast number of fantasy football experts, as well as current and potentially future league mates. Individual messages are limited to 140 characters, but this is rarely very limiting. The ability to create lists of users allows for a great way to organize those you follow into logical collections.
Many fantasy football trades are conducted over this service as well. Countless desktop and mobile clients exist for this service, so you aren’t tied to any one location or client. Additionally, Twitter, due to its huge popularity, has a massive amount of third party supporting sites that allow you to do things easier, faster or differently than twitter.com does. While you’re there give all the DLF staff a follow at the names listed in the footer of this page. We encourage you to chat with us any time you’d like.
I’d be remiss without adding the single largest social network on this list. While not designed specifically for close communication between small groups, it is the single most likely website where you’ll find all of your leaguemates. Personally, I’m opposed to the site, but I do acknowledge its usefulness.
One interesting feature a league could try out is the timeline feature. This feature could track wins and losses, important trades and league championships. There’s not much to say here that hasn’t been said a million times about this site. If you don’t know more than I could write about Facebook then you’ve been living under a rock or in a nuclear bunker for the past three to five years.
If Facebook is a shotgun, then Google+ is a sniper rifle. One takes a broad approach to connecting users, the other is laser focused in its attempt to do the same. Google+ has a much smaller user base, but works on fostering group interaction – perfect for a small group of people like a dynasty fantasy football league. The circle concept Google has developed keeps interactions between the group private and only viewable by those associated with the group.
Google Documents (docs.google.com)
This collection of applications by Google is meant to compete with the Microsoft Office suite of products. The usefulness here for a dynasty fantasy football league is that the documents produced or edited by group members are viewable and editable to everyone else in that group. We here at DLF use this suite of products to help run the site you’re reading this article on. This suite of products is perfect for keeping league rules on, tracking salaries and contract years and any calculation spreadsheets developed by or associated with a dynasty league. If it’s good enough for your friends at DLF then why not give it a try!
Here is where we start to get to the more niche applications. While not widely known, Voxer is perfect for bringing a dynasty fantasy football league closer together. Voxer allows push to talk communication between two or more users. In Voxer you can have a conversation between your opponent for the week or send a voice message out to the league as a whole. It’s a great way to stay in touch during the off-season, send out trade offers or trash talk during the season. I actually require all owners in the league that I am commissioner of to install the application on their smartphones. Voxer is an amazing tool to bring everyone in a dynasty league closer together and should be an essential companion to your league website.
WhatsApp Messenger (www.whatsapp.com)
Similar in nature to Voxer, this application allows for sending pictures, video or voice messages to groups. If your entire dynasty fantasy football league is on this application, you can essentially have a mobile chat room in which everyone is notified of updates to the on-going chat. This application is what I prefer for chat rooms within a league, but I prefer Voxer for the push to talk features. The downside on WhatsApp Messenger is it is not free, while only .99 cents; you’re bound to hear some gripes if you require league members to buy a paid application.
Voice Broadcast (www.ifbyphone.com)
This application is designed to be used for marketing purposes, but I find this helps with the sanity of being a commissioner. By downloading and signing up for the free account on the website, you can send short burst voice messages that ring the phones of those you select. An excellent use for this is to send reminders out to your league on Thursdays that a game will be played that night and to set their lineups, notify league members of the start of a draft or to notify the league of any important issues, polls, dates or deadlines. I would urge any commissioner who uses this application to use it sparingly as overuse will annoy or anger league members if you use it for every small thing about the league. It is very useful, however, for important information that requires immediate attention.
With very little effort and some desire to keep a dynasty league whole and interacting, a savvy commissioner can transform their league from a desperate group of individuals into a close-knit group of friends with little to no turnover for long periods of time.
A league that binds itself together can expect games and seasons which are much more fun and rewarding for all those involved. Using just a couple of the applications I’ve outlined will make a huge difference in how you interact with all of your league members and will transform your fantasy football season from a few months a year to a multi-year, around the calendar experience.
Have fun out there!