To Tweet Or Not To Tweet - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
8/20/2009
12:02 AM
Michael Hickins
Michael Hickins
Commentary
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To Tweet Or Not To Tweet

Just think about this: the National Football League may be more enlightened than New York Times sports writer Judy Batista, who ragged on Donte' Stallworth for posting what she considered a flippant Tweet.

Just think about this: the National Football League may be more enlightened than New York Times sports writer Judy Batista, who ragged on Donte' Stallworth for posting what she considered a flippant Tweet.Stallworth, who served a 30-day sentence for killing a man while driving under the influence, and has just been suspended by the NFL for a full year, tweeted: "TO ALL MY FAM IN THE LEAGUE: GOD BLESS YALL, STAY HEALTHY, GOOD LUCK THIS SEASON!!!"

According to Batista, this indicates that "he has perhaps not quite grasped the severity of the situation." But she later describes earlier expressions of contrition, implying that either she thinks his contrition was insincere, or that he doesn't grasp the nuance of the 140-character limit.

I, for one, don't see Stallworth's tweet as contradicting his other expressions of remorse. He's allowed to wish his colleagues good luck, isn't he? Maybe Batista would have been less offended if he hadn't used all caps -- who knows.

I do find, however, that most of the objections to athletes tweeting are either condescending (athletes don't know what they're doing) or anachronistically authoritarian (we'll control the messaging, thank you very much).

Even though the NFL (a.k.a. the "No Fun League" because of restrictions on whipping Sharpies out of socks or miming phone calls after scoring) came down on San Diego Charger Antonio Cromartie for taking to Twitter to complain about the team's food choices, it has actually shown the good sense to leave most Twitter policing to individual teams.

(Cromartie's tweet is actually hilarious: Man we have 2 have the most nasty food of any team. Damn can we upgrade 4 str8 years the same ish maybe that's y we can't we the SB we need.")

But one condescending sportswriter actually had the temerity to write that Twitter isn't what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.

I doubt they had the Internet or even typewriters in mind either. The Chicago Tribune's Bob Verdi might be a Luddite when it comes to Twitter, but his perspective is a lot more constructive:

If Lance Armstrong can communicate with his legion of admirers, why must the Packers risk a $1,700 fine for connecting to their people? I mean, if you're stuck in Green Bay, you probably are looking for a friend but will settle for a stranger. Besides, how much danger can you create in 140 characters?

The NFL did ban game-time Tweeting, and I think that's a mistake as well. I seriously doubt any player is going to Tweet on the sidelines instead of game-planning with their coaches. But would it hurt if they Tweeted instead of pacing up and down the sidelines?

I know it would increase my enjoyment of the game tremendously if my favorite player Tweeted about a play he just made -- or even better, one he didn't. No more waiting for a sideline reporter to corner him after the game, only to hear him say a sanitized "my bad" after dropping a potential game-winning catch. Maybe on the spur of the moment he'd Tweet, "damn QB threw a rocket. No1 cudda caught that."

It might make purists wince, but it would add more immediacy, candor and, frankly, actual human interest.

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