In today’s digital environment, we are aware of the importance of staying connected all the time. Twitter, obviously is one such tool, which lets us share information on a real time basis while giving us an opportunity to connect with others who have similar interests. It has an enormous power to an extent, where it helped incite uprisings that ultimately brought down governments in the Middle East.

When it comes to football, we can see how Twitter is consistently being used as “the” platform by many footballers to connect and communicate with their fans, critics and the occasionally, answer verbal insults received from individuals while in a “toxicated” state.

Till a few months ago, I was among the “elite” who couldn’t justify it’s existence. For me Twitter was just a repetition of a social networking super fad that had threatened to expose our social behavior.

It just didn’t make sense.

Five stages of accepting twitter

It didn’t make sense to the point where I went through the 5 stages of twitter acceptance while I was encouraged to open an account and connect with people that shared my passion – football. The results were brilliant, brilliant to a point where I have started promoting the tool to any and every (social savy individuals) I talk to.

In fact, I was able to connect with a few footballers and had a few questions responded to immediately. Questions that I had in mind for a while. How cool is that?

Quite different from what my boss had experienced, when he tweeted to Rio Ferdinand about his comments against Sepp Blatter. He waited for 10 mins, but did not receive a reply, hence ended up calling him a derogatory term that I will not use here.

But how far can footballers really use it to express their emotions?

We have all heard about how Sir Alex Ferguson considered banning Manchester United players from using twitter. A ban, which was thought-out after Rooney’s tweet threats, he apparently made to a supporter. Or Ryan Babel’s tweet showing a picture of ref Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United jersey. They might seem innocent but could start up a hurricane.

There are certain tweets that just irritate you like Ryan Babel’s recent tweet on Nov 17th: 

My BlackBerry is on 2% I gotta stop tweeting..”.

Thank you for informing us Ryan? Do you need a charger? I am pretty sure that one of his 299,785 must have tweeted that back to him.

Then there are tweets that give us an idea on how an athlete really feels regarding a certain issue. Rio Ferdinand’s tweet on Nov 16th is one:

Rio Ferdinand Sepp Blatter Racism
 @SeppBlatter your comments on racism are so condescending its  almost laughable. If fans shout racist chants but shake our hands is that ok?” 

This criticism of Sepp Blatter led the latter to provide a quick response. Even if the response received was infuriating, we did receive one. Thank you Rio Ferdinand for dragging it out of him because through traditional media, it wouldn’t be possible. At least, not right away.

And lastly there are comments made by footballers that does better for the community they live in. Referring to Glen Johnson’s tweet on Nov 17th:

“Just head the demo for @tirolark a new band from Liverpool check them out. Performing live in the City soon!”

Not sure if he realized it from a social point of view, but that is a good gesture as he was promoting a band from Liverpool. Many players have promoted similar good will through Twitter relating to Racism, Cancer, Obesity, etc…

A few EPL footballers I would recommend following:

Rio Ferdinand @rioferdy5 – Gives an insight on the man he is.

Joey Barton @Joey7Barton – Pure entertainer. Quite a funny guy really, different from the carnivorous rage we have known him for.

Jack Wilshere @JackWilshere – Simplistic, shows his age and lets us know that he is still a teenager.

Twitter if used properly can do wonders for an athlete and could increase his/her “likability” factor. But on the other hand if used beyond control, could tarnish an athlete’s reputation. I know for one, I am enjoying my current tweet based interaction with athletes and like-minded individuals from all over the world. And I would suggest you guys to get onto the bandwagon as well.

If you already are a part of the tweeting community, send me one at@footynions.

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