Did you see the story about college coaches using Twitter to recruit? Twitter, for those doing max time at Pelican Bay, is a social networking stop on the internet inviting passersby to post messages of 140 characters or less on one topic: What are you doing? Then, every personhood on the planet can read your what-you’re-doing tweet on their computer, cell phone, alarm clock, and refrigerator.
In fairness, I should point out that there are folk who don’t want to know that much about your life, who don’t care if you enjoyed your morning shower. Fortunately, that brutish sentiment has not deterred 5 to 10 million short-form writers (according to TechCrunch.com) from signing up and running on.
But, to get back to Twitter and sports… We have millionaire college basketball and football coaches. They get to keep making millions by winning games. They win games if they recruit the best players. It is players, by the way, who win games. The NCAA has rules on how many contacts a coach can have per recruit and when. The rules are more or less enforced.
Text messaging was outlawed two years ago. There is no NCAA policy as yet on Twitter because the coaches’ tweets go out to the world and not to a specific person/recruit. One could say that the audience for a college coach’s tweets are recruits, but that would be unkind.
To recap, you have a rapacious coach who we’ll call the “Tweetee” and you have his “followers,” a painfully accurate description of this activity and those who engage in it. Some coaches compete with each other as to how many followers they have. How could they not?
Still, it’s a disturbing picture. Sixty-year-old men, millionaires all, tweeting all the day long, hoping to lure 17-year-old boys into their athletic sweatshop. Of course, the problem with tweeting is the same problem you have with blogs — everyone has access, but few people have anything to say.
Pete Carroll (twitter.com/PeteCarroll) is the head football coach for USC. His bio/motto as stated on his Twitter page: “Always Compete! Win Forever!” Carroll’s got 19,575 followers. Here’s something from a May 6 tweet: “Song of the day! Miss you by the stones... Because I’m missing all the coaches who are out on the road recruiting right now.”
Regard Norv Turner (twitter.com/NorvTurner), Chargers head coach and a man who will always have a job in the NFL. Norv has 36 followers and a total of two postings. First post was on November 20, 2008: “Hey, I’m not getting fired — I guess I can buy that Wii Fit for Christmas after all.” Next, 18 hours later: “So. I accidentally used shower gel in my hair and then lathered up with shampoo this morning. Everything smells opposite.”
And then silence.
Now comes Jake Peavy (twitter.com/JakePeavy), a right-handed pitcher for the Padres. He has 102 followers. His bio/motto says, “Rocket Launcher.” Last communiqué, April 27: “Hey Tweets, what’s on your mind? I’m feeling a bit fired up today.” Previous tweet (April 7): “Ok, I’m ready for some action again today. I had a tough time yesterday. I felt good, but we have to get some runs.”
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (twitter.com/PhilipRivers) has 15 followers and ten pretty good posts. April 29, referring to Darren Sproles, Chargers designated franchise player who just signed a fat one-year contract, Rivers tweeted: “There goes another 6 million...who’s next?” And March 5: “T. nO.” January 31: “The Anaheim Chargers of Los Angeles? HELL NO!”
Here are some tweets drawn from the hat: Barry Bonds, 39 followers, two tweets, his last on November 18, 2007: “Right now I just need friends.”
Dallas QB Tony Romo has 26 followers: “Hey, i’ve got nothing against Walmart. who doesn’t love Walmart?”
Then there’s a class of Tweeters who see it as just another way to sell their crap to the dumb public. Other people write their tweets.
Ellen Degeneres, 1,187,462 followers. Last two Tweets: “Send me your favorite moments from my first 996 episodes. Pick wisely... You may see it on my 1000th show this Fri!” And, “Have a hidden talent? A good one like juggling watermelons or balancing a La-Z-Boy on your head. If so, send it…”
Finally, there is tweet crime. I’m talking about evil, malicious hackers who hacked, among others, Britney Spears, Bill O’Reilly, and the unctuous CNN anchor Rick Sanchez. Rick must have felt punched in the gut by job fear as he watched his tweets take a strange, ugly turn: I AM NAKED IN MY DRESSIN ROOM HIGH ON CRCK AND PCP PLZ CALL MY AGENT — ricksanchezcnn.
“Stop fucking delte my updates you assholes this is rick!! Smokin crack biaatch — ricksanchezcnn.”