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As Washington Capitals rookies were readying for the ice last week and some veterans were still working on getting back into the country, Sean Parker, Director of New Media for the Caps, was promoting social media in San Francisco.

Sean flew to the Bay Area to present at The Social Media Strategies Summit.

Sean Parker - Director of New Media - Washington Capitals

“I focused on the Caps having been involved in social long before the term social media was in our vernacular,” said Parker. “Using platforms like message boards, interactive podcasting, widgets and that sort of thing.”

He also addressed how the National Hockey League has taken great strides in recent years to embrace social media. How the NHL redefined their level of openness and overall philosophy in communicating and interacting with their fans and the media.

His official topic, per the SMMS website, was:

“Maximizing Online Awareness through Social Media and Word of Mouth”
“The Washington Capitals have pushed themselves to be at the forefront of new media in the sports world. In the era of social media they have further defined their brand with their online presence. This session highlights:
• A professional sport team’s use of social media
• Creating a community on and offline
• Understanding the difference between on and offline brands”

Parker and the franchise have been at the forefront of the interactive space for years, anchored and supported by Ted Leonsis, former Vice Chairman and President of AOL, and current Founder/Chairman/Majority Owner/CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Capitals. If you think Mark Cuban is the only owner who wears his heart on his blog, please visit Leonsis’ Ted’s Take.

Leonsis brought his customer-first social approach to the Caps and Parker has been there to implement and create strategies. He has been as fast and flexible with each new functionality available in the rapidly growing space as the team’s superstar Russian forward Alex Ovechkin is on the ice. You can check out some background of the franchise’s endeavors in Gene Wang’s Washington Post article Capitals continue to reach out to fans through social networking.

As a social media advocate, Parker was equally as eager to hear the other experts contributing to the summit.

“I didn’t get to see as many presentations as I wanted to that’s for sure,” said Parker. “I heard some great advice from Liz Straus about “raise a barn, don’t build a coliseum” in regards to getting fans and evangelists involved in your social media efforts. Kira Wampler from Ant’s Eye View, formerly of Intuit, did some excellent work with Intuit’s “Love a Local Business” campaign and the efforts behind that.”

Parker also shared the spotlight during his involvement in a panel discussion on mobile social.

“[It] ended up becoming a good discussion between the panel and the audience on mobile where someone in the audience spoke about stickybits.com, which I have quickly become intrigued with,” said Parker.

It is individuals like Leonsis, General Manager George McPhee, Parker, Nate Ewell,VP of Communications, and Joe Dupriest, VP/CMO, who have teamed to create such an inviting and exciting community on the ice, in the Verizon Center, and among the fans.

They provide official information and access for such terrific fan blogs as On Frozen Blog, Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks and the Washington Post’s Capitals Insider and D.C. Sports Bog.

I look forward to the social and mainstream coverage of this season and hope to click “Like” on the end results.

(Full disclosure: Sean and I have been friends since 2004, when I was manager of internet services at the Baltimore Ravens. I am a huge Washington Capitals fan, so I’m pretty biased in this article, but I believe in everyone mentioned here, so I’m comfortable with it. :))