As an avid Twitter fan myself, it’s not totally uncommon for I (and others) to read the tweets and Twitter responses from athletes online, especially when it comes to our bolts. Last Sunday I did my Twitter awards for the best and worst of the Tampa Bay Lightning on the net, however this one is directed to the fans. To be quite honest, I am sometimes appalled by some of things fans say on Twitter to people they actually expect a response from or the online tough guys out to heckle the players that ruin it for the rest of us. True, there is an exception to every rule, however as a general rule of thumb I advise the following when addressing athletes. The following is my crash course on Twitter etiquette designed to make good use of social media outlets between athletes and their fans, not discouraging and impolite. You might ask why you would like to listen to my tips, that’s understandable. I’m up for two internships as a social media director in addition to my claim to fame: David Price follows me.
Remember, sarcasm does not translate-
I myself have been found guilty by this (by accident of course!) when it came to my favorite Tampa Bay Rays player Reid Brignac. Sarcasm doesn’t translate! After he responded by my snarky tweet (not to be quoted) I immediately felt a rush of shame and embarrassment. Sarcasm is way too difficult to be deciphered over the internet. More often than not it comes off as rude and offensive, even if you’re his biggest fan!
Not every Bolt can win a spelling B-
It’s one thing to correct the spelling of friends and family (I do it all the time, jokingly of course) but it’s another to correct someone whom you don’t actually know. It’s disrespectful, obnoxious and not to say hockey players aren’t intelligent but there’s a lot of brain damage you ought not be judging! Yes, I am a stickler for *your and *you’re, *then and than, and the various forms of there, however they are doing you a favor! Not to mention that from different countries there are many variations of the English language in addition to the guys who are just learning it! You wouldn’t correct Mattias Ohlund to his face would you? That’s probably why he isn’t on Twitter. They don’t need to be online and accessible to fans just as they don’t need to tolerate you either.
Clear and concise messages-
Like I stated above, many NHL players are just learning English as they go along playing in the states. Do try to relay your thoughts and messages in the clearest manner you can in 140 measly characters. The less complicated the better and more likely you are to receive a response, however that’s no excuse for poor grammar and the use of such abbreviations as R (are), U (you), and Y (why). If you can fit the whole spelling please do, if you can’t your thought is probably too difficult to relay in 140 characters and I suggest you find something else to say.
Vincent Lecavalier does not need your advice-
Maybe you played on your local recreation team as a kid or froze the pond behind your house if that, but for the love of all that is good don’t make suggestion to Vinny about how he can score more points. It’s again rude, unintelligent, undesired, and did I mention rude? He or any other professional player are professionals, they work with a well paid staff tailored to assist them reach their full potential, thanks but no thanks your pointers really aren’t called for.
‘Notice Me’ stunts-
Whenever I see one of those charity retweets I can’t help but wonder how many of those are actually real. I hope they are, because otherwise I find it rather obnoxious that you claim to donate X amount if an athlete will retweet just so someone will notice your existence. I can’t blame them for doing it, good PR is good PR, however it’s seriously my pet peeve along with other stunts people pull to get noticed in cyber space. Caps locked messages, it’s my birthday!’s, and constant spam of the same message multiple times are legitimately irritating to myself and most people I know. However the one thing I do find particularly sweet/appropriate are the retweets for those who’ve passed on, for example last season there was a death of a high school hockey star that received many retweets from pro players, that was nice to see.
Nate Thompson can’t reply to everyone-
I understand he may be your favorite player (I adore him too and he’s never tweeted me back) but in all honesty there is no possible way that he can reply to everyone that tweets him. Recognition is not an excuse to heckle or spam him however. Keep in mind this applies to all players, it’s hard to get noticed online, I truly do understand it but seriously, do you want to ruin it for all of us? The really nice guys can often feel stressed by the high expectations placed on them by fans on and off the ice, it’s super easy to delete a twitter if one of the guys feels over pressured.
Quien es mas macho?
Please, I beg of you don’t use Twitter as a tool to prove you’re big and bad behind a computer screen. Quien es mas macho? is a traditional Hispanic saying that fits this more than perfectly, it’s the battle of the tough guys. You will not out tough a hockey player, give it up. Steven Stamkos once completed a game with practically a chunk of his nose missing, I guarantee you you’re zero competition to him. Just stop, it’s annoying to everyone and it doesn’t make you look good whether you win or lose.
If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all-
If you’re or have already made a Twitter account simply to heckle, insult, bash, ect any athlete or person period please do us all a favor and remove yourself from the internet until you’re mature enough to play nice. No one cares how much you hate Alexander Ovechkin to be frank, what if it was your favorite player people were hurling insults at? You’d be pissed if it was Stamkos or Teddy Purcell, eh? Just stop, you’re ruining it for the real fans of said player and it’s just not fair to anyone at all. Twitter was created to connect people in unification and communication not to make enemies or harass them. They may be famous or well-paid but that is no excuse to cyber bully. The worst form of this is when you tag them in the tweet too, it’s one thing to make a comment but to direct it specifically at someone that’s a whole other level of low.
And those are my most valued rules to the Twitter world when it comes to addressing our boys in blue. It may seem tedious but I assure you respect and clarity are key at the end of the day. Those two character traits will get you where you want to go if there’s a chance of getting there while at the same time being courteous to the other fans and their opportunities at continued interactions with said players. Have fun tweeting little blue birds, fly full steam ahead into that lightning filled sky.