This article was originally posted sometime between 2014-2016. Due to operator error (aka ME), it became a re-published story in July 2017. Why? Who knows! But suffice to say it was published awhile ago.
Someone once told me that when someone is telling you something you don’t like, agree with or want to hear, at least 10% of what they are saying is true.
And, it’s probably something you need to hear.
I try to remember that now when I’m in media. There are some media members on Twitter that I have no desire to read or listen to when they tweet/speak. But, sometimes I will come across something they share that is what I need to hear at that moment.
Twitter created an avenue for fans to see the true colors of media members. The two biggest detractions for me with media is arrogance and pompousness. You know, the full-of-themselves attitude that tweets back, “I’m better than you so how dare you question or argue with me.”
If they want to blast my team’s off-season moves, fine. That’s their choice. It’s also my choice to question, in a professional way, their stance. Tweeting me back like I’m an idiot, is unacceptable.
I’m also not a fan of those whose objectification of women dominate their timeline. Dominate, as in, that seems to be the majority of their tweets and retweets. They may have a few interesting stories to share but it’s drowned out by their unprofessionalism and hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy? In sports media?
Color me shocked.
Or color me “stupid fat“.
I’m “stupid fat”. I follow sports media because they have content of value. When it’s determined they don’t, I unfollow. It’s not that I don’t “get them”. For various reasons (including those described above), I unfollow.
Even though I unfollow someone, I may still add them to a list. Twitter lists are vital to what I do in this business. As such, I still see what people are tweeting (story links, news nuggets).
Which brings me to Johnny Manziel.
Texas A&M’s Heisman-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, is taking a break from Twitter. Manziel has become a popular college football figure since his late-season Heisman-run in the 2012-13 season. Off the field, his exploits have been tweeted and chronicled, whether it’s his partying or even his practicing. For many, he became an intriguing must-follow on Twitter. But now, he’s stepping back from all of the attention and adulation that Twitter has helped bring him.
Perfectly understandable. But that brought one media member to a lament of odd proportions.
Manziel’s decision won’t really lessen Johnny Football’s popularity on Twitter — after all, the vast majority of the attention he’s gotten from social media has come from other individuals Tweeting about Manziel’s actions — but it does raise an interesting question, does Twitter become less enjoyable as the size of your Twitter audience grows? And as Twitter grows in popularity is the value of the at mentions declining? -Clay Travis
First question I have. How does one quantify “vast majority of attention”? Unless one has follower numbers from when he joined and compared it to November, December and January, then that’s simply opinion, not fact.
Second question: How does Twitter become less enjoyable when your audience grows? Change, by its very nature, forces self-adjustments. Things that were, yesterday, are not the same today. Enjoyment from Twitter is subjective. Is it purely because of one’s @ mentions (third question I have) that one derives satisfaction and pleasure from Twitter? If so, perhaps it is time to reevaluate one’s own purposes for social media.
Is there a thrill in follower numbers and @ mentions? Can anyone define “value” of an @ mention? Yes, I can hear some of you say now: “You ONLY have 1000 followers, what the hell do you know?”. I’ll gladly take 1000 quality followers over 300,000 who are only following because others are following. If that’s what it is for someone, follower numbers and website page views, then I get how the Twitter outlook could be grim.
It’s something I’ve wondered about since hearing several high-profile members of the sports media lamenting the decline in quality of their at mentions as their Twitter popularity increases. Yes, expanding your audience gives you the opportunity to massively grow your audience — and I’m on the record as being a Twitter true believer — but it can also lessen the quality of the individual user’s Twitter experience. -Clay Travis
See, I look at Twitter as an engagement platform. Engagement for conveying sports news. Engagement of conversation between people who share interests. Engagement between friends, between teams/schools and their fans…it’s a conversation tool. Conversation leads to relationship. Relating with people who have common interests or those who “politely” challenge one’s personal thinking. I choose (there’s that word again) who I want to engage with. It’s conversation.
Conversation tool. That doesn’t mean you have to converse with every single person that @ mentions you. Just like in life, each person chooses the conversation they want to participate in.
And yes, you choose to be on Twitter.
Johnny Manziel chose to be on Twitter. He’s a Heisman-winning star quarterback. Coach Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M did him no favors by shielding him from the media until December. I have no information as to what type of media/social media training Manziel received during that time. Hard to speculate but suffice to say I believe it wasn’t enough. I’ve said as much before here.
Manziel will try and do things any other college kid would try to do. Except his actions (and tweets) are amplified. Like any college student, he hasn’t always made the best choices. He’s drawn attention to himself, both positive and negative, with his actions. In today’s pop culture atmosphere in sports, people eat those stories up.
It has to be a little bit alarming for Twitter that the reason why someone like Manziel is taking a break isn’t because of the time he spends Tweeting — he’s only sent a few thousand total Tweets and that doesn’t take very long over the course of years — but because the Twitter community is devolving. -Clay Travis
The pop culture atmosphere in sports has been growing for awhile now. It’s not just because of Twitter. Twitter has helped to amplify it, true. But it isn’t the sole reason.
And therein lies the rub.
Social media is forcing change at lightning speed proportions. Change, adapt or get caught in a public relations firestorm for athletes, celebrities, businesses, politicians, schools and teams. There are those who are not on Twitter and they are successful. It can be done without ‘being on Twitter’.
But again, everything is a choice. Just like in our daily lives, there are people we want to associate with and those we don’t.
We choose to look at our @ mentions on Twitter. We choose whether to engage with people or not on Twitter.
And we choose whether to use a Twitter tool – Blocking/Muting. If one chooses not to use it, that’s on them. Twitter provides it, use it.
Along the way, I’ve only had to block about 100 of you — and I maintain that everyone I’ve ever blocked has clear psychological issues, diagnosed or undiagnosed — but we’re not a massive Twitter audience and I’m not famous enough for the true crazies or the fake bots to swarm. – Clay Travis
Twitter is what you make of it. There are ways people use Twitter that I disagree with but that’s their right.
Let me be clear before there’s any misinterpretation. Never will I condone harassment of anyone on Twitter. Boorish fan behavior on Twitter is a huge pet peeve of mine. I’ve written numerous times on the subject.
There are times when I’ve called fans out for it on this blog. I could write a post on it every single day of the year with examples of poor behavior from fans around the world. That’s right. Around the world, not just America.
Ultimately, it comes down to the choices we make.
Choose to be on Twitter and we expose ourselves to every element of society no matter the country (certain countries excepted). Take the good with the bad when you’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever.
Would there ever be a time that I “choose” not to be on Twitter? For the forseeable future, I cannot see it. But that’s because I don’t know what the future holds. I won’t rule it out. But, it’s part of my job.
Manziel’s Twitter is a one-way street and most of Twitter’s value comes from it being a two-way street, a place where information is shared from both directions. Sure, Manziel’s ability to communicate to a large audience is valuable — he has 332,000 Twitter followers — but does Johnny Manziel really have trouble communicating now? All he has to do is call a reporter and whatever he says is instantly distributed to the masses. Is there much value in the interactive aspects of the site for Manziel? -Clay Travis
For others, it all depends on their perspective. For those who are famous like Johnny Manziel, that’s a question only they can answer. But they need the training to do so. There are positives and negatives that must be weighed. Just as Facebook has changed, so has its users. So will it continue to be with Twitter, as far as interpersonal communications between famous people and not-so-famous people like you and me. Who knows? Something else might come along that will replace Twitter.
But until then, perhaps Chad Johnson is a great example of how to be famous and on Twitter.
Being richly unemployed is relaxing after yrs of work RT @MMroue2: u've gotta be awfully bored, is this what happens when you're unemployed?
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) April 4, 2013
I'm very accessible 💯 RT @Viers_Hextall: Why do I feel like Chad Johnson is the only one who actually cares about his fans on this thing?
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) April 5, 2013
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) April 5, 2013
ADDENDUM – February 27, 2017
Since I first started writing this in 2015, a lot has changed.
Johnny Manziel is no longer relevant. Clay Travis is still in media. And, Twitter has only gotten worse.
Since 2015, the ever-present need for sports media to not stick to sports has become the norm. Some media members believe they have a platform and they’re going to use it.
Okay. To those who believe they don’t need to stick to sports, more power to you. Let it never be said then, that you have to be on Twitter for your job. If your job is sports and you don’t want to stick to sports, create a “personal” Twitter account. It’s not that difficult to manage multiple accounts. Been there, done that.
The presidential election of 2016 amplified the “don’t stick to sports” mindset. We had writers/editors at major media outlets, college sports journalism professors, notable sports public relations professionals and the like sharing their “personal” views on this tumultuous political season.
Some attacked others without provocation, simply for having a differing opinion than them. Some inserted themselves into conversations because…for lack of a better explanation…because they could.
Vitriol spewed from both sides of the American political aisle. However, if that vitriol was levied against someone with an opposing viewpoint, some media turned a blind eye to it all.
I’ve seen some media who have cried wolf many times before for how they are treated, acting like cyber-bullies. No one calls them on it. No one will for fear of cyber-retribution.
I used to call Twitter the World’s Largest Sports Bar. As long as media live/eat/breathe on Twitter, it still is. But, it has also become the World’s Second-Largest Soap Box (behind Facebook, of course).
Every complaint, every grievance, every disagreement has to be shared on some media members Twitter account (their soap box). From lamentations on “their” teams to politicians to current (non-sports) events, they have a thought and they’re going to share it.
One minute a sports media person is tweeting about a great touchdown catch they witnessed and the next they’re lamenting the end of empathy because of some political tweet they just read (without reading the actual story, mind you).
What I’ve witnessed these past two years has been disheartening. It’s one thing to not stick to sports. It’s another thing to bully those who disagree with you. And make no mistake, there is a lot of bullying going on by some in sports media.
It’s no longer the fans who need to reign it in on Twitter. Media do too.
Don’t want to stick to sports? Fine. Be prepared because social media is a reflection of society. There are people from every walk of life on there. You’re not going to go into a Green Bay bar and call Aaron Rodgers overrated or walk along Little Havana and say ‘Hail, Castro’.