This is not looking good. I’ve been feverishly checking my inbox and have yet to run across a 100-page manifesto on the failures of local sports journalists, a manifesto I was expecting to receive no later than today. Granted, there’s still a ton of time before Friday comes to a close, but the situation is grim, to say the least.
I don’t even know what to think right now. I’ve gone to all this trouble clearing 100 pages of online space right here on this site and now? Now I’m at a loss as to how I’ll fill that space if my columnist doesn’t come through.
You may be wondering how I came to be fortunate enough to be promised a 100-page manifesto in the first place. Great question.
It all started on Tuesday night, when our would-be author John Stringer (@johnpstringer on the Twitter) went on a rampage, sending a flurry of tweets to a handful of local media members, including our good friend Ryan Divish. Stringer, it seemed, had a problem with Divish’s lack of subjectivity (???) towards the Mariners and let him know about it in a less-than-friendly manner. That spawned a revolt of sorts from Divish and his colleagues (myself, included), which led to the following pledge:
@ryandivish then where is your negativity about this team??? I havent read 1 line of it from you or anyone else..over the last decade?
— John Stringer (@johnpstringer) April 24, 2013
@johnpstringer If you can’t give examples of how that’s being done, your point is moot. I want a 10-page paper with references by tomorrow.
— Seattle Sportsnet (@alexSSN) April 24, 2013
@johnpstringer Then do it. I’ll give you til Friday. firstname.lastname@example.org. Send it there.
— Seattle Sportsnet (@alexSSN) April 24, 2013
As you can see, plain as day, we were promised a 100-page paper. Now, the deadline for this paper was set by me, which as I would later mention to John, comes with the territory. Having worked for a newspaper before, I can tell you that deadlines are not often in the writer’s control. That’s why I initially offered John the opportunity to write a 10-page paper, as opposed to something ten times bigger. But John being the ambitious sort opted to go the extra mile, which I can certainly respect. However, his failure to follow through up to this point is disconcerting. Who knows for sure, though. Maybe he’s feverishly scripting his manifesto as we speak. Let’s hope. Because people are legitimately excited about this manifesto:
I gotta be honest, as completely idiotic as this guy and his point are, if he ACTUALLY sends @alexssn a 100 page paper I’ll love him forever
— Tyler Hansen (@Thans3) April 24, 2013
Regardless, if fans are going to hold journalists to a certain level of unattainable accountability, then demand that those same journalists simply “do their job” to an ambiguous standard set by those without the credibility to determine such a standard, well, two can play that game.
You have thirteen hours remaining, John.
Filed under: Other Sports
Over the past decade, the Mariners have been really, really, really good at spawning anger and dissent amongst their fan base. Really good. I can’t tell you how good they’ve been at this. To the credit of the affected population, rather than commit crimes or go on villainous rampages, fans have taken to the world wide web to voice their displeasure for the organization, because frankly, what else is this online environment good for, anyway?
You’d think that people would be relatively unified in their angst over a team that hasn’t been to the postseason in twelve years, but that’s not the case at all. So what if we all agree that the team sucks? Some people out there don’t agree enough. Some people out there show signs of occasional optimism, others show too much pessimism, some aren’t as critical as we’d like them to be, others are far too critical. We can agree that the Mariners are bad, but we can’t agree on the way in which we all agree about that very thing we originally agreed upon. If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.
The internet tells me that Albert Einstein once defined insanity as the act of doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. If that definition holds true, then Mariner fans have literally gone insane over the better part of this millennium. Since Y2K hit (Remember Y2K? That was a fun time…), the M’s have finished dead last in their division seven times in thirteen tries. By the same token, they have finished first just once. Four of those last place finishes have come in the past five years, including three straight heading into 2013. As the team has done the same thing over and over again, fans have expected different results. And in expecting otherwise, we’ve driven ourselves mad.
The craziest of the crazy aren’t so much fanatics as they are trolls. For the uninitiated, a troll is defined by Urban Dictionary as “one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.” In the case of today’s trolls, the act of trolling is frequently taken off message boards and brought to the forefront of public consciousness through social media. Twitter, especially, has become a breeding ground for the troll community. Unlike message boards, Twitter provides trolls a distinct following in the form of, well, followers. Whereas on the boards it can often be hard to gauge how many people are paying close attention to the “deliberately provocative” messages one happens to be spewing, Twitter ensures that there is always a dedicated group of people devoted to the “maximum disruption” being caused.
On another level, Twitter gives trolls access to the people they most want to argue with. Fans, media, and the team itself are targets for the disruption and argument trolls seek to cause. Beyond simply ejaculating non-sensical ire to the masses, trolls can direct their attacks to specific individuals or groups and needle the shit out of them for any reason they desire. This isn’t anything new, of course. This sort of thing has happened since Twitter was invented, and likewise has occurred for generations in other formats: letter writing to a media outlet, phone calls to the newspaper, emails to TV stations, etc. And we all know that voicing displeasure is much easier when a certain level of anonymity is secured. Trolls have always existed, however it’s the internet — and to another degree, Twitter — that grants them more anonymity with greater impact than any other forum.
While every sports team has its trolls, the Mariners and their losing ways seem to breed more trolls than most ball clubs. For the antithesis of this, we need look no further than right across the street from Safeco Field. If the Mariners are your typical Seattle sports fan’s most acute pain point, then the Seahawks are surely the foil to that.
The Seahawks win, they’re fun to watch, they’ve been relatively successful for over a decade now, and they breed positivity moreso than troll-dom. Where the Seahawks are concerned, there is very little in the way of fan dissent. Contrary to the Mariners, we all agree that the Seahawks are great. And in being great, we don’t have a whole heckuva lot to argue about. When it comes to our football team, we rarely argue. Sure, Seahawk trolls exist. But with each passing victory, their voices are squelched beneath the tenor of jubilation. We celebrate wins and the trolls can’t help but join in and be happy. Winning, it appears, cures all ills.
The Mariners could certainly eliminate fan antipathy by winning games, there’s no doubt about that. But after so many years of futility, the sentiment they’re most in danger of treading upon is fan apathy. People don’t care that the M’s suck anymore. They’ve stopped coming to games, they’re not tuning into increasingly-frequent blowout losses, they really do have more important things to worry about than a last-place baseball team. This is where the trolls intervene…in a positive way.
The one good thing about those looney bastard trolls is that they prevent apathy from spreading to the entire fan base. Their lives revolve around the Mariners (or, more accurately, revolve around criticizing the Mariners) and so they continue to vomit Mariner vitriol upon all who will listen, willingly or otherwise. With each message they send the team, with each tweet they direct towards a media member, with each reasonable fan they drag into their cesspool of stupidity, they actually keep the team relevant. Again, I’ll go back to a statement I made earlier: if this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. For all the conspiracy theories they passionately believe in, for all the hate they hold in their heart, for all the trouble they cause and havoc they create, these trolls are pivotal to keeping a flailing franchise afloat. Were it not for the trolls, would anyone be tuning in to watch a game? Who knows for sure. All we really know is that the team is struggling, many people couldn’t care less, and the few times those who consider ourselves sound of mind are compelled to talk about the squad is when some nutjob goes on a rampage about trading Felix Hernandez for a bag of crap, promoting a prospect from Single-A, or berating Ryan Divish for drinking Kool-Aid (if you were on Twitter on Monday night, you might know a little bit about that last bit of craziness).
Fact is, there are three common truths about trolls that we can all agree upon: 1) most of us despise trolls, 2) most of the time, trolls perform their due diligence in earning our loathing, and 3) the Mariners have spawned more trolls than any other professional team in Seattle sports history.
Until success finds its way to this organization, expect more of the same silly behavior from everyone driven insane by a ball club that can’t separate itself from failure. Losing and trolls go hand-in-hand, which in turn means the Mariners and trolls go hand-in-hand. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the trolls need this team to not win and the team, for relevance’s sake, needs its trolls.
Filed under: Mariners
Explaining the Manti Te’o Hoax Through “Saved By the Bell,” a Self-Created Fake Hot Chick Twitter Profile, and My Own Personal Life
Season One, Episode Five of Saved By the Bell. Zack Morris’s best friend, Samuel “Screech” Powers, is feeling down. Zack wants to boost Screech’s ego so he agrees to set him up on a date with a girl named Bambi. The only problem? Bambi doesn’t exist.
Unwittingly ecstatic, Screech so strongly demands a rendezvous with his newfound love interest that Zack is forced to impersonate his feminine creation. After speaking with Screech by phone, Zack adorns himself in a purple dress, trendy spectacles, and a wig and meets his nerdy, smitten counterpart at everyone’s favorite hangout, The Max.
The girl is a figment of my imagination. She is one of three stunning coeds in an image uncovered after a quick Google search. I give her a name, a biography, a persona — she’s Samantha, a recent college graduate who loves sports and has a feisty, fun-loving attitude. She will become my social experiment. I will use her to experience life as an attractive female sports fan.
She takes to Twitter. Like most social media virgins, she gets started by connecting with those she’s closest to. She “follows” her friends — me, my girlfriend, my friends, my girlfriend’s friends. We’ve already built Samantha a network of legitimate individuals. Suddenly, she has credibility. And those credible sources, over time, will vouch for this concoction of mine.
The experiment isn’t borne out of boredom or a need for entertainment. Rather, it’s prompted by those very same friends who have adopted Samantha as their own, females who have been brazenly pursued time and time again by men online. Not just average men, mind you. Thanks to their good looks and an affinity for sports, these ladies have incurred the affections of a number of upstanding college and professional athletes. Beyond commenting on sporting events, and aside from extending a “follow” to some of the men in question, these women have done absolutely nothing to draw in their pursuers. Which makes this study all the more interesting.
Samantha spreads her Twitter wings and begins to follow a number of accounts relevant to her world — news media-types, sports media-types, celebrities, local athletes. She tweets more. She banters with her “friends.” And then it happens.
One night, not a week after her account has come to life, Samantha receives a Direct Message from one of the athletes she follows, a starter on the University of Washington football team. And against all logic, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there are three girls in Samantha’s avatar photo, he bypasses introductions and writes, “Heyy do i know you, I swear u look familiar…”
The first time I ever interacted with the girl who would become my girlfriend, I was suspicious. I issued a tweet about looking for a web design expert who could revamp my website for very little money and she was the first to respond, letting me know that she would gladly pass my request onto a University of Washington department head who worked with students looking for unpaid internships.
My suspicion stemmed from her avatar picture, the only image I could view of this beautiful woman. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t think twice about interacting with anyone on Twitter. But this was different. Her photo was too glamorous. It was too clean. It had all the makings of phoniness. It looked, well, exactly like this:
We exchanged details by email and our interaction was complete. I thought nothing more of our encounter until months later, when this girl, Andrea (or dancerAL, as I had come to know her), responded to a few more of my tweets. I replied back, she re-replied, we became friends on Facebook, and eventually, days later, she suggested we go out for drinks. I jumped at the opportunity and a date was set.
Before our first meetup, I did some recon work. I scoured her Facebook page (some might call it “stalking;” I call it due diligence), I looked her up on Google, I found the reason behind her “glamour shots” (she moonlit as a Sea Gal, dancing at Seahawks games), and even discovered a video that gave me enough reason to believe this was a living, breathing, non-fake person.
We met up. We hit it off. We had a great night. She existed. She was legit. She was everything I had hoped for the moment we met on Twitter.
Manti Te’o is not a victim. He’s been embarrassed, yes, but he has not truly been “victimized.” What has happened to Te’o happens to people every single day on the internet. Only we rarely hear about it. Because most people simply don’t carry the social prominence of a standout Notre Dame football player.
If anything, Te’o may be a victim of his own celebrity. Were he not worth talking about, surely no reporter would ever have published much in the way of details about his personal life. In turn, little would ever have been known about the online relationship — a relationship Te’o led many to believe extended beyond the virtual realm — Te’o held with a young woman by the name of Lennay Kekua.
Kekua, as we found out on Wednesday, does not exist. She did not ever exist. Kekua was made up by someone, somewhere (possibly those individuals alluded to in the linked Deadspin article) as the basis of what seems to be a vicious prank played on one Manti Te’o. Te’o claimed Kekua was his girlfriend. Kekua, through her real-life proprietary liaison, may or may not have corroborated Te’o's affectionate designation of their romantic affair, but Te’o, at least, believed their relationship to be more than platonic.
For a 21-year-old college student, love can be difficult to decipher. At that age, love is often misunderstood, the heart weakened by lust and infatuation and nothing more. Who knows for sure if Manti Te’o really “loved” his imaginary girlfriend; by all accounts he was certainly taken by her. Regardless of his true emotions, when he ultimately found out he had been duped by an imposter, it had to hurt in a number of different ways. Rather than brush his misfortune off as one of life’s little mistakes, however, Te’o let his pride interfere with this crushing news and a story began to spiral out of control.
At this point, Te’o became somewhat of a victim yet again, this time as a result of his own naivety. In a digital age, answers are everywhere; it’s just up to those willing to work hard enough to go look for them. Te’o, himself, was naive enough to not seek out answers. Had he poked around a few places, as the writers at Deadspin did, he would have found inconsistencies in Kekua’s back-story. He would have seen that Kekua wasn’t really who she claimed to be. And he might have had enough evidence to convince himself that this wasn’t a relationship worth pursuing. He did none of that, though. Or at least not enough.
Te’o was further naive in thinking no one else would unearth the mysteries behind his fly-by-night love interest. That naivety, combined with Te’o's unadulterated pride, ultimately cost the NFL prospect a chunk of his dignity when the original article broke.
As Te’o said in his own statement on the matter, he has been embarrassed. In similar situations, we all would be. But most of us wouldn’t let that embarrassment live on in print by building upon its falsehood. Which Te’o did when he continued piecing together a story founded on smoke and mirrors. Someone got the best of Te’o; he was determined to keep the scam from surfacing by continuing with the lie.
This isn’t new, of course. As any late-twenty- or early-thirty-something can tell you, this used to happen EVERY SINGLE DAY on AOL Instant Messenger. It’s just that, even as teenagers, most of us were smart enough to sniff out the imposters and ignore any attempts at what some might call a hoax. We can only speculate as to why Te’o was unable to do that, but suffice it to say he might not be real great at using the internet. Frankly, if I had to choose between being pretty darn good at football and pretty darn good at the internet, I’d probably choose football. So he’s got me there.
We can learn from this. We have learned from this. And not just because Manti Te’o is involved.
Take Zack and Screech, for instance. When Zack met up with his pal under the guise of “Bambi,” he managed to weasel his way out of having to continue any hoax by talking Screech out of pursuing a relationship. Screech, for his part, was painted as the unsuspecting dope that somehow managed to see through the absurdity of Bambi’s personality enough to know that going any further with this love affair was a bad idea.
Then there’s Samantha, my fake hot chick. I never had any intention of hurting anybody. So as each subsequent request for Samantha’s attention rolled in through Direct Message and public mention, I tended to ignore my foolish suitors. I experienced something that most average guys never get to experience. I put myself in the shoes of someone completely different than me and it opened my eyes. If more people did that, well, there’d probably be less dudes making lame attempts at obtaining naked pictures from attractive females on Twitter. Because really, it looks incredibly stupid in print. Especially when you don’t know who’s on the receiving end of your request.
And then there’s me. I’ve been down the same path that Te’o ventured down, albeit with greater success. Unlike Te’o, however, I refused to let myself be fooled. I did my homework. I saved the breadth of the conversation for our initial get-together — in fact, I made it a point not to discuss anything of great importance with Andrea via social media before our first date. I made sure I wasn’t going to get screwed over, basically. And now, almost a year later, I’m happily involved with that same person I once met on Twitter.
I know what you’re thinking. How do we know for sure? All I can offer is a picture.
Filed under: Other Sports
Earlier this week, we found out that the University of Washington athletic department has imposed an interesting policy regarding sports and Twitter. Basically, media members reporting on any Husky basketball or football game are limited to the number of times they can tweet during a contest. Yep, it’s like that.
As a proud UW alum, I’ve been schooled on recognizing stupidity. And this is about as stupid as it gets.
Putting clamps on those giving you the time of day? Really? If there’s anything we all know, it’s that in America, the media cannot be controlled. You can’t stop the media, you can only hope to contain it. And yet trying to contain it usually doesn’t work out so well.
Knowing that this will undoubtedly spiral into an abyss of long-running jokes and never-ending punch lines, I figured I’d take the opportunity to ask my alma mater why on earth they’d want to censor their guests. I’ve come up with 11 questions. I was allotted no more than that.
11. Do you want the media to hate you?
Professional media members are trained to be objective, judicious, fair, equitable, and unbiased. At the end of the day, however, professional media members are still human. They still have emotions. They still have preferences, prejudices, ethics, morals, and personal beliefs. Yet there are people out there who are crazy enough to think that a credential and a paycheck somehow turn a living, breathing being into a robot. Which, unfortunately for the naive, is just not true.
I can’t speak for those credentialed media members tasked with reporting on Husky athletics, but I can give you my opinion on the subject as an outsider: If someone who wasn’t my immediate colleague imposed unnecessary job restrictions upon me, I’d go to work each day hoping against hope that that holier-than-thou bastard came down with a raging case of crabs. I imagine that many of the media members who have had Twitter limits imposed upon them might think along similar lines.
Fact is, when you’re in for a long season, which the Husky basketball team very well may be, the time is not right to make enemies with journalists. For some odd reason, the University of Washington doesn’t seem to care. This will backfire. The school has already received negative national press on the matter. With each ensuing loss to teams like Albany, it can only get worse. Godspeed, UW.
10. What happens if every credentialed media member reaches his or her tweet limit before the game is done?
Seriously. What happens then? I want to know. Because I think it’d be funny as hell. And personally, if I’m a media member, I’m conspiring with all my cohorts and picking one game to test this theory. Here’s what I suggest:
Everyone blow through 20 tweets by halftime. Go silent throughout intermission and shortly thereafter. Certainly, someone affiliated with the university will have to take notice. Where did the coverage on our game go? Why is no one talking about the Dawgs? Panic ensues. Holy crap, someone realizes, they’ve used up all their tweets! At this point, you either repeal your incredibly ill-advised Twitter law or risk looking like goons to all those fans who depend on Twitter — and in turn the media — for updates on the game.
Do it. Come on, media. I know you’ve got it in you. They can’t rescind ALL your credentials. Unionize. It’s time. We shall overcome!
9. Have any of the credentialed media members ever really hurt your product by over-tweeting?
If anything, most beat writers might take themselves a little too seriously. To my knowledge, they certainly aren’t saturated with emotion during a game they happen to be covering. They aren’t fans. They don’t react to every blown call, every skirmish, or every go-ahead basket the way we do. So what damage can really be done by tweeting upwards of 21 times a game?
I don’t see it. Maybe you want to drive people to your university-hosted online chat or other content you control. But that’s awfully petty, don’t you think? If I want to read your in-house writer (Gregg Bell, a true talent and one of the most upstanding gentlemen in the biz), I will. And I do. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be privy to full disclosure from others covering the game, too. Why can’t we all just get along?
8. Do mentions directed at other Twitter users count towards the tweet limit during a game?
Here’s the rub about Twitter. If I issue a tweet that leads with another user’s Twitter handle, that tweet can only be read by those followers of mine who also follow that user I’m directing my tweet towards. God, just reading that last sentence makes almost no sense at all. Let me try to give you an example. A tweet reading as follows will only be viewed by users who mutually follow me and @UW: “@UW is a great place to go to school!” See that? Only my followers who also follow @UW would see that tweet. That’s how the product was designed. It’s called a “Reply” in the Twittersphere. Plain as day, I hope.
So, in essence, if I reply to another Twitterer (Twit? Twittee?), only a limited number of my followers will even see that tweet. Is it really fair to count Replies towards the 20-tweet limit? Probably not. Have you taken this into consideration? Probably not. What we have here is an old-fashioned Mexican standoff. Or something like that. I don’t know. I’m not Mexican.
7. Do tweets unrelated to the game itself count towards the tweet limit during a game?
Let’s say I’m covering the game and I want to know what one of my buddies is up to. I tweet to my pal and say, “Yo, @RyanDivish. Are you coming to the game tonight, or are you catching up on the latest episode of Gossip Girl?” That tweet has nothing to do with the game itself. Yet I’ve posted it during the contest. Am I being a charged one of my precious 20 tweets for issuing my inquiry? These are the questions people need answers to!
6. What are the different levels of punishment a violator of the 20-tweet rule can expect to incur? And similarly, what specific actions will trigger each level of punishment?
Sure, we’ve heard about media members getting “reprimanded” for exceeding 20 tweets in a single game. We’ve also heard that the university might go so far as to pull a violator’s credential, if need be. But there’s quite a bit of grey area in between those two levels of comeuppance. It doesn’t seem like we have any real guidelines for issuing discipline. I’d like to offer my assistance in helping clear things up.
Here’s what I feel like we should do to those who overstep their bounds (or over-tweet their timelines, you might say), based on the number of tweets they issue during a single game:
Tier 1 Punishment: If 21-30 tweets are issued, the violator is subject to a public flogging of sorts via the @UWAthletics Twitter account. Call out said violator’s Twitter handle, then bash him or her incessantly over the course of 140 characters.
Tier 2 Punishment: If 31-40 tweets are issued, the violator is subject to a one-game Twitter ban. They are also required to don Harry the Husky’s mascot costume during that one-game ban and wander around the arena doing whatever it is mascots do.
Tier 3 Punishment: If 41-50 tweets are issued, the violator is subject to a two-game Twitter ban and must also post a TwitPic of himself/herself wearing a sign explaining his/her idiocy, much like the dogs over at DogShaming.com.
Tier 4 Punishment: If 50+ tweets are issued, the violator is subject to losing his/her credential. Furthermore, he or she must also spend a day officiating UW intramural basketball, which is arguably the worst punishment anyone can receive.
5. Do you really think this is going to get more people to either a) come to games, or b) watch them on TV?
Because I feel like that’s the end goal here. I think you believe people are getting a free pass via Twitter, following along with reporters providing insight to the goings-on at Hec Ed, instead of paying to attend the contest, or even watching on TV. And to you, that free pass equates to potential revenue lost. Hence, the Twitter limitations.
Prove me wrong, I suppose, but I see no other logical explanation as to why a credentialed media member’s tweets would be limited.
And do any of us really believe that limiting a journalist’s ability to report on the game will drive up attendance or TV ratings? No. No one thinks that. Give up the dream.
4. Did you really think this rule through before imposing it? Or did some suit at the top come up with it, while everyone else just sat around a table and nodded out of fear and/or apathy?
You don’t have to answer either of those questions. They’re rhetorical.
3. Is this all Todd Dybas’ fault? Do you guys not like Todd Dybas?
Before Tacoma News-Tribune beat writer Todd Dybas became the inaugural media member reprimanded for over-tweeting, we didn’t even know this tweet rule existed. Dybas took over the TNT’s Husky beat this year, after our good friend Ryan Divish was on the job last season. Initially, I thought maybe you guys just had a problem with the TNT (there’s some history here, as a Google search will reveal), but Divish was never busted for his plethora of tweets in the past. So what’s the deal?
Clearly, it’s Dybas. You guys don’t like him. Fair enough. But what did he do to warrant this treatment? I want answers. We all do. You’ve turned this man into a martyr! Don’t you realize what you’ve done?!
2. Why do you feel the need to stifle the creativity of talented wordsmiths?
If I had to think before I issued every tweet (and believe me, I don’t), my tweets would suck. So if someone told me I could only tweet 20 times a game, you bet I’d start considering my syntactical ejaculations before blasting them unto the web.
It’s the same for any media member. With only a score of tweets to work with (that’s Abraham Lincoln speak for 20), a reporter has to carefully evaluate the importance of each in-game update before he or she goes through with it. That’s ridiculous! How is anyone supposed to know if reporting on a CJ Wilcox trey is worth five-percent of a tweet allotment?
Not only that, but each tweet issued is probably going to lack for flavor. We won’t hear about the comical bench antics, the reactions from the Dawg Pack, or any other color commentary that might allow us to, you know, connect with our team on a more personal level. Instead, each one of those 20 tweets will strictly be relegated to play-by-play. That’s damn unfortunate.
1. Do you really want non-credentialed members of the media like myself tweeting our asses off during games because our credentialed brethren cannot?
Challenge accepted, friend. Challenge. Accepted.
Filed under: Husky Basketball, Husky Football, Top 11
If you’d told me a few months ago when I was all worked up for the NFL draft that I wouldn’t be in section 333 for the first game of the preseason, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you’d told me that not only wouldn’t I be at the game for Matt’s return to the Clink, but I wouldn’t even have access to the game via TV, I wouldn’t have been responsible for my actions!
Yet as I type this, I’m in the middle of the Nevada desert heading toward Death Valley with my husband. Our planned stop tonight is the eastern Sierra Nevadas. I hope to have Wifi but no guarantee on the strength of the signal being capable of capturing a feed. And it’s a pretty sure thing it won’t be televised down here.
So what does an ardent Seahawks fan do?
She falls back on the Seahawks Social Network. Before she leaves Vegas, she connects with fellow Seahawk fans on Twitter to make sure she can at least hear about the finer points of the game, any great plays and updates on who makes a good showing in their first NFL game!
More than just a catch phrase of #12sfollow12s, the Seahawk fans on twitter have your back. Even if I hadn’t asked specifically, I know a 3G signal on my phone would get me commentary, speculation, play by play review and humor galore.
Thanks to the Seahawks Social Network, my poor planning won’t prevent me from hearing about the game. But you can bet my butt will be in my seats for the Raiders!
I love Twitter. Which is also why I hate it so much. It’s like cocaine for media whores. Every time you think you can go a day, an hour, a minute without it, you start scratching your neck funny and you’re back on the rock before you know it. It’s absolutely dangerous.
There are any number of things I loathe about Twitter. Not so much the things we all know about already — like the fact that most athletes are uneducated morons, for one — but rather the things that have come to dictate our social behaviors as a result of 140-character status updates.
Take, for example, the fact that Twitter gives us a false sense of surrounding at all times. Think about it. If you’re alone or even feel for a second that you could be alone (ex. party wallflower syndrome), you can grab your phone and peruse your Twitter feed. You can tune out from the real world and tune into a universe that accepts you for the two or three sentences you, or others like you, might be able to cram into a text box. That’s a powerful distraction, one that rivals drugs and alcohol in its ability to divert the discomfort of a situation.
If you need a boost — an ego boost, an enjoyment boost, a laughter boost, a knowledge boost…I feel like Jamba Juice with all these boosts — Twitter is there to give it to you. There’s a never-ending stream of tweets from those you follow to keep you company. And if you’re really lucky, a bevy of followers clamoring for your attention will catch your eye by tweeting at you. With that much information going back and forth, it’s a wonder we ever look up from our feeds at all. To digest this much knowledge, we would need more alone time than Tom Hanks in Castaway.
And that’s the scary thing about Twitter. It allows us to feel wanted, to feel loved, to feel important, to feel needed entirely through characters on a screen. As a result of that, we don’t need to look someone in the eye to know they care. We don’t need to hug somebody or tell them we love them. There’s an emoticon for that. There’s a retweet button. We can retweet someone we care about all day long and never actually tell them how we really feel. Because it’s easy. And it does the job. At least temporarily.
We, as a people, demand instant gratification. When we see something we want, we need it now. Why have we made credit cards so popular? Why are loans so common? Why do we like fast food? Immediacy. We put an incredible amount of stock in immediate feedback. First dates, first impressions, first kisses, first place. No one ever talks about the second or the third of anything. We want the first. It makes us the best. We hedge our successes on the immediate. You can have that iPhone, but if you’re the last person to have that iPhone, you’re not nearly as cool as the first person to have that iPhone. The end is only slightly more important than the means by which you, or I, or anybody got there. Nobody wants to work for what they’re after. We know that there’s a heavy premium on getting that thing we want as fast as we can possibly get it. That’s the power of immediacy. That’s what makes Twitter relevant.
The immediacy of Twitter allows us to forgo the effort we put into making relationships work. I speak from experience. I’ve gotten dates because of Twitter. I’ve met friends because of Twitter. I’ve made enemies because of Twitter. But Twitter doesn’t actually tell anyone who you are. What Twitter does is provide a window to your brain. I’ve always said that the things I post on Twitter are my thoughts on steroids. They are fleeting blurbs that dash across my brain, captured in a nanosecond, typed up, plastered onto the internet, and shortly thereafter forgotten about. Thing is, while I may forget them, others do not. And because their only exposure to me is through a 140-character medium, they will either love me or hate me based entirely off a social networking application. How crazy is that?
Back in the day, we used to have to meet somebody face-to-face. Then call them. Then go out with them. Then call them again. Then keep going out with them until we were convinced that this relationship would either work or it wouldn’t. We got to know people by being around them. That’s not the case anymore.
Look at it this way. There’s a girl that I like. I talk to her almost every day through some form of communication. But I started thinking about all the ways we’ve communicated in the past few weeks and it blew my mind. There’s Twitter, of course. Then there’s Facebook. There’s email. There’s texting. There are phone calls. And then at the back end of all that, there happens to be the most infrequent way we communicate: face-to-face interaction. For every time we’ve hung out together, there are hundreds of messages back and forth through some other means. And yet the most meaningful thing I can get from her isn’t a text or a tweet or a chat or an email. It’s simple. It’s a smile.
Maybe that’s why Twitter is that thing I hate so much. It’s stealing the moments we can never replicate through words and replacing them with commentary. How do you describe a smile? You would never be able to do a smile justice in a thirty-page dissertation, let alone 140 characters or fewer. But we try to do it every day. I, myself, am guilty of that. I try to do that nearly every hour. Not with a smile, but with an explanation of who I am. Twitter is this thing that confounds me. There are people out there who are interested in those fleeting blurbs that dash across my brain. As a result, I share as many of them as I can. And in the end, no matter how many tweets or retweets come my way, I am left feeling incredibly unfulfilled by my contributions. I imagine I’m not alone in feeling that way, either.
There is something quite ironic about Twitter. It leaves us wanting more. And in leaving us wanting more, you would imagine that we would leave Twitter to find it. Maybe click on a link that leads to an article, or dig deeper to get in touch with a person we find especially compelling. While we explore these avenues from time to time, the irony is that we keep coming back. We always return to that thing that leaves us wanting more, searching for a certain fulfillment that we may or may not ever find.
Twitter is our drug of choice. We’re addicted and we can’t find the rehab clinic.
I love you, Twitter.
But I hate you so, so much.
Filed under: Featured Articles
Filed under: Other Sports
7tjackson Tarvaris Jackson
thanks people but the work is only begun…. still have to compete everyday! i preciate it but no congrats is needed!
In response to all of the people who have been congratulating him for … [visit site to read more]
This is a three-day glance at the Twitter account of one Derrick Williams (@bigdthatsme23), power forward for the University of Arizona (men’s) basketball team.
Beginning on Tuesday, January 18th, Williams began Tweeting smack talk towards the University of Washington in snippets of 140 characters or less.
By the evening of Thursday, January 20th, Williams had humbly devoured all of his characters (i.e. eaten his words) after the Huskies defeated the Wildcats by a score of 85-68.
Join us on this journey as we witness the progression of Williams’ epic fail.
*Note: For the Twitter illiterate, the abbreviation “RT” means “re-tweet,” which in essence is the re-posting of a Tweet that someone else has directed at you. Example: @JoeSchmo Tweets something to me, @alexssn. Because I’m a nice guy and I find @JoeSchmo to be funny, I re-tweet @JoeSchmo’s comment under my own account so that all my followers can see what he has written. Re-tweets are denoted in the below thread with an “RT”.
Tuesday, January 18 (with a nod to teammate Solomon Hill): We really gon see who raising the roof on Thursday. Ain’t that right @kingxsolo ?
Tuesday, January 18 (in response to Isaiah Thomas’s comment that Arizona had this game circled on their calendars): And a matter of fact … We didn’t circle the game. Ain’t that right AGAIN @kingxsolo
Wednesday, January 19 (with respect to former Arizona Wildcat Nic Wise): @TheNicWise we gettin these dubs this weekend!!
Wednesday, January 19 (RT): My boy @Bigdthatsme23 said he’s gonna get a top 10 at overton’s expense tomorrow night
Thursday, January 20: playin for 1st place today! lets get it and go 16-3 !
Thursday, January 20 (RT): @Bigdthatsme23 Imma be on the edge of my seat tonight! Do the Zona crew proud as usual and show them dawgs what’s up!
Thursday, January 20 (RT): @Bigdthatsme23 is gonna work washington tonight! No contest.
Thursday, January 20: crazy how the stuent section already got my number… smh
Thursday, January 20 (in response to a jersey chaser): @MissMarie11 lol random 206 numbers texting me
Thursday, January 20 (RT): @Bigdthatsme23 Do major work. UDUB Student Section got your #? What a bunch of creepers!
Thursday, January 20: At least make the text semi funny. I’m disappointed
Thursday, January 20 (RT from teammate Solomon Hill): Let’s break another 3-game winning streak against us in a specific location.
Thursday, January 20: Hope the homie @quincypondexter ain’t mad after this W we gettin tonight! Let’s go!
Thursday, January 20: I know one thing for sure… As long as I’m a wildcat , we might not win every game but I’m definitely never gunna quit…NEVER!
Thursday, January 20 (RT): @Bigdthatsme23 don’t worry about niggas tweeting an re-tweeting dumb shit fam…u kno how it goes my nigga. Don’t sweat, keep doin what u do
Thursday, January 20 (RT): @Bigdthatsme23 I don’t know how you keep your cool. You got hacked and hammered all night and they didn’t call shit.
Thursday, January 20 (to Hill): @kingxsolo man at home…. a whole different story . Lets turn this up and get theis dub on sat.
Thursday, January 20: like my bro @_m_easy said. ASU rival is great and all.. but this Washington/Arizona just got serious.
Filed under: Husky Basketball
Tags: Ben Hamilton, Chester Pitts, E.J. Wilson, Earl Thomas, football, Golden Tate, Justin Forsett, Kam Chancellor, Matt Hasselbeck, nfl, Other, Pete Carroll, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, training camp, Twitter
Last May, Pete Carroll fielded questions from his followers on Twitter. Yesterday, he did the same.
Who’s got questions? How bout some football questions?
If you have a Twitter account, be sure to follow Carroll; at the very least, he is quite entertaining. Opportunities to ask the coach questions have been random and rare, but a few fortunate followers received answers.
Here is a dialogue of yesterday’s question and answer session:
It will be interesting to see if Pete Carroll can find success in the National Football League. Either way, it should continue to be an interesting experiment for Seahawks fans.