Twitter has spread like the black plague through the media in general, but it has made a considerable impact in the area of sports. There are many advantages to athletes who use twitter responsibly, but with that responsibility comes great danger.
After following five different athletes on twitter, I concluded that some athletes use Twitter to relay their everyday occurrences and thoughts, while others use twitter for less constructive purposes.
Some NFL stars, such as Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, use twitter to connect with their fans. For instance, many times, Johnson has offered to take his followers out to dinner or lunch and pick up the bill on numerous occasions. “Dinner in NY tonight –> 1st 200 people at Sylvia’s Restaurant by 7 pm in Harlem. Leave ya money/credit cards at home. I got you this time,” said Johnson via Twitter. 200 fans showed up and dined with Johnson, who picked up the $8,000 bill.
He has become a big time hit on Twitter due to his accepting attitude and always positive disposition. For most sports fans, its difficult to relate to professional athletes who make millions of dollars; however, Johnson uses Twitter to be more relatable and appear more human to balance the fact that he is a stud of a NFL millionaire.
Johnson has gone as far as to take some Pittsburg Steelers fans shopping one day. Victor Gonzalez, a dedicated fan of Johnson, waited two years before he got a response from the veteran receiver. Johnson, feeling guilty, went out of his way to fly Gonzalez out to see the next game according to huffingtonpost.com.
Ndamukong Suh is also an excellent example of how athletes should use Twitter. His Tweets are upbeat and often involve some sort of a giveaway. “Aight #SUHSQUAD! Whoever wants 2 of my personal tix stay tuned and I’ll give them away Saturday!!!” said Suh via Twitter. These kinds of Tweets are very common for Suh making him quite popular to follow.
These are all examples of the right way to use Twitter, but unfortunately, not all NFL stars use their Twitter accounts wisely. Other players use Twitter for less constructive reasons.
“I’m absolutely sure now after this last rule change that the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots,” said James Harrison, star linebacker, who has gotten in trouble for expressing views in the past. Tweets like these are exactly why many NFL agents advise the players they represent to carefully consider each Tweet before they send it.
Another ill advised Tweet was sent by Darnell Docket, which read, “The gun laws in Az are super cool! I can d**n near have a Grenade launcher on the seat and long as its registered I’m good. Lol nice.” Clearly this is not what NFL players should be Tweeting about if their goal is to gain fans and become more popular.
Some athletes use Twitter for the betterment of their reputation and how the public views them, athletes such as Docket and Harrison seem to not understand what is considered acceptable on social media websites. While the NFL does not currently regulate players use of Twitter, players like Docket and Harrison continue to use Twitter to communicate questionable and even inappropriate information.