Follow Doron on Twitter
The social networking site, Twitter, has become increasingly popular with fans and footballers over the past two years. Rio Ferdinand was, as footballers go, an early adopter of the site when he was injured and unable to play at the World Cup in 2010. With a possible FA charge hanging over him over something controversial he said, Rio’s told the press he intends to stay on Twitter. I doubt Sir Alex Ferguson or many of his followers will be sports betting on him quitting any time soon!
Rio told the Daily Mirror:
“Twitter is something that lets fans get a bit closer to you by letting them see you do everyday things – just giving them a glimpse of what you get up to. I would have loved to be able to be close to the likes of John Barnes, Gazza and Paul Ince when I was a kid.”
But, being a footballer on Twitter comes with a warning too:
“Anyone who says they’re thinking of going on Twitter, I always say ‘You’ve got to have a thick skin’. You’ve got to be able to take abuse. If you can’t take abuse, then it’s not the place for you. You have Liverpool fans, Manchester City fans, obviously now Chelsea fans, who seem to follow me and come on there just to abuse me, but I’m not a**ed. I’ve said it before, but that kind of stuff is like fuel.”
The timing of Rio’s quotes is handy; only yesterday the Premier League issued guidelines for clubs on how they should use social media. Sir Alex Ferguson recently said he won’t stop his players using Twitter as long as they appreciate and are aware of the things they can and can’t say. United fans will of course famously remember Darron Gibson’s brief stint on the site – he was hounded off it very quickly following torrents of abuse. Jonny Evans was also on there for a while but left because he clearly struggled with holding back and not being himself.
Whilst Twitter does certainly help to bridge the gap between fans and players, it does put them more so in the public eye and everything they say and do gets scrutinised to the nth level (just ask Ravel Morrison!). With various charges being brought against players over the past year for their conduct on Twitter one does have to wonder if it’s worth it. There’s no hiding from one poorly worded or silly tweet with people always looking to catch players out and taking screenshots.
Personally, I think the good outweighs the bad. As much as Rio plugs his brand, his honesty and emotion after games is something fans can relate to. Twitter’s also helped to get many fans in touch with some of the club’s younger players on there who they wouldn’t have necessarily heard of.
Do you think fooballers should be on Twitter? Do you follow Rio on Twitter and what do you think of him on there? Have some footballers changed your opinions of them?
You can follow all of United’s players on Twitter here