With the growing popularity and impact of social networks, most sports fans would tell you they love being able to follow their favorite atheletes’ every move. What makes social media sites, such as Twitter, so appealing is that it brings celebrities closer to their fans than ever before. But like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad, right?
The positive or negative effects of Twitter on a team varies from team to team and athlete to athlete. In the case of the Atlanta Falcons, it should be a good thing. The team is filled with veterans who rarely say or do things that bring negative press off the field.
So, the effects of using Twitter would most likely be positive. The Falcons have been inconsistent at times and lackadaisical at others which is where the positive effects of Twitter would be evident for the Falcons. When you’re a star, everything you say is monitored and stating things publicly adds a little spice to games that are already highly competitive. There is no better motivation for a player than to have to back up his trash talk on the field.
Back in 2010, when Atlanta went 13-3 in the regular season, Wide Receiver Roddy White got into a war of words with ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer and a few New Orleans Saints players before the week 16 Monday Night Football game. White tweeted, “No chance in hell the Aints come into the dome and win once trent dilfer.”
That was met with plenty of rebuttals from Saints players but it would be hard for a fan not to like their star receiver doing a little trash talking before a home rivalry game. While the trash talk on Twitter could’ve very well been extra motivation for the Saints en route to their 17-14 win that night, it could have also been the cause for the Saints’ eight penalties for 92 yards.
Earlier this week, new cornerback Asante Samuel got into a Twitter war, of sorts, with Eagles fans. Samuel started things off by tweeting to his roughly 73,000 followers: ”Last time I played against the Eagles I had two interceptions and 1 for a TD. #justsaying What was they thinking!”
No one has ever mistaken Samuel as humble but for a defense that struggled mightily at times last season, a proven veteran’s confidence in himself could be just what the doctor ordered.
This is where the proper use of social media can be a good thing. Samuel went on to tweet “Don’t yall get it. Its like 7 days until camp. I’m getting mentally ready for the season.”
What fan wouldn’t like seeing that from their Pro Bowl corner?
Another part of the appeal to Twitter is that it holds people accountable. Samuel later tweeted, “Just make sure yall booo me when I step on the field so I can get it crackin out there. #neverscared.”
That tweet should get any Falcons fan excited because Samuel didn’t run from his comments. That type of ownership and accountability is contagious in a locker room, it’ll rub off on everyone around him.
Essentially what Samuel did was write a check for Week 8 against the Eagles and it’ll be up to him and the rest of the Falcons to cash it. Coming off of the last two playoff shortcomings and with training camp right around the corner, I like the move by Samuel because once its public, its put up or shut up time. Especially in a situation where the Falcons are facing more pressure than ever before to produce when it counts.
Some would argue the Falcons’ postseason problems could be attributed to confidence, or the lack thereof. If that is true, the use of Twitter by White and new addition Samuel shows confidence should no longer be a problem.