People are funny. People are angry. That’s basically everything Twitter has taught me. I can’t say that I’m a regular tweeter. Of course I provide my loyal followers (I’m damn proud of all 85 of you) with the run-of-the-mill, read my article spam that populates the Twitterverse. But my life instincts aren’t Twitter-oriented. Nor am I that clever. It just seems that all my tweets are one-upped by someone else – like @JayBilas and @EricStangel (two of my favorites to follow). For the rest of us non-famous tweeters, we must submit to the inalienable Twitter standard: unless you can wow us with your unmatchable intellectual wit, shut up. We already knew that chicken parmigiana tastes good. It doesn’t warm our hearts knowing that you’re listening to Rick Ross.
The professional athletes and sports personalities subscribe to a different set of rules. And by rules, I mean anything goes. They market their brands, tweet about their awful dates (see @agentzeroshow) and generally update us on their lives. And thus they create the perfect irony of the entire social networking nexus – by tossing us these scraps of information, they insulate themselves even further. We feel connected, even if we’re not. But that feeling, that’s all that matters.
Access. That’s all we’ve ever wanted, but that’s what athletes will forever deny. We want volatile statements, personality and enthusiasm. We want to know these guys appreciate their positions atop the “What do I want to be when I grow up?” hierarchy. But then we want them to abide by society’s PC rules. In case we’re wondering, you can’t have it both ways. People may be PC, but the person is not.
The sports sect of Twitter, to me, should just be a transposed version of DimeMag.com’s comments section. Or any comments section of a sports blog, for that matter. Because that’s all it is. A very public comments section. Assuming people abide by the Twitter rules, you’re left with the cream of the crop – intelligent sports discussion devoid of defiant stubbornness and angry, unwilling-to-compromise ranting. But those who follow, comment and indulge in the delights of the Internet, they’re not the ones on Twitter. My generation – the generation that doesn’t convulse in frustration when the Internet stops working – has yet to fully embrace Twitter’s giant purview. Sure, many of us are on it and tweeting our little hearts away. But we’re still caught up with Facebook – everyone I know has Facebook, but only about 20% of them have a Twitter. Their resistance simply stems from a simple question: Why tweet when you can do essentially that and 100x more? Twitter, then, is just the lazy man’s public Facebook. Or really, the this-is-too-complicated to handle alternative.
Maybe Twitter will fully encapsulate the younger generation. Considering how fast it has exploded, we know it’s going somewhere. But I’m thinking more about how it’s used as opposed to by whom. More specifically, I’m thinking about in-game basketball tweets.
I know David Stern would never endorse it. He’d slap players with a fine faster than Nate Robinson could tweet about it. But what are players on the bench really doing? You’ve got the overly enthusiastic “I’m never going to play” end of the bench guys, injured players dressed in street clothes (I’ll never understand the term “street clothes.” I don’t wear Armani suits in my down time.), and random assistants/ball boys. And have you ever sat in the stands and watched a huddle during a timeout? Half the players are looking at the Jumbotron or the incredibly attractive dancers. If the players are not going to pay attention anyway, we might as well arm one “street clothes” player with Twitter (assuming there’s a device out there that only allows tweets, and no other type of contact with the outside world). Mark Titus, owner of the Club Trillion blog and former 12th man on Ohio State, provided us with that insight. The blog’s purpose answers an often-asked but seldom answered question: What is it like to be the 12th man on a famous basketball team? So he gave us that access. Inside the locker room, inside practices and inside the mindset and goings on of the team. On the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, he told a story about how Evan Turner was an a**hole when he first got to Columbus. These are the things, as fans, that we want to know about. We want the scoop. Maybe in-game tweeting is that next step.
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