Jan 29, 2012; Honolulu, HI, USA; NFC linebacker London Fletcher of the Washington Redskins (59) sends a twitter message on the sideline against the AFC during the 2012 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The Ten Commandments for talking sports via social media


In case you live under a rock in Australia, I have an update for you. Long gone are the days of expressing your opinion via a talk-back line at your local radio station. A water-cooler has been replaced with a circle on Google+ and in-your-face arguments now take place from thousands of miles away via Twitter and Facebook. A while back, our friends at SideLionReport.com did an article on how to call into your local radio station, a guide of sorts. Being the social media junkie that I am, I thought it necessary to lay out the basics of social media interaction for our readers and the nation. If you find yourself constantly breaking these rules then you may indeed be “that guy” or a “twitter thug” as some like to put it. Much like the an operating manual, this article is more of a guide than a rulebook.

When in doubt, thou shalt not tweet.

Are you the kind of person that types out 140 characters of pure anarchy and then holds down the backspace key until the entire message disappears? No? Well you should be. If you think to yourself, “self, this is a bad idea”, or even if you’re not sure, it’s best to let it mellow. The last thing anybody wants to see is somebody going off about a player’s personal life or attacking a member of the local media because they think the Redskins will go 6-10 this season and you’re thinking 7-9.

Thou shalt covet thy auto-correct.

What’s worse than a terrible argument? One that is riddled with grammatical and spelling errors; if you’re going to be loud (and potentially wrong), at least learn to spell and use proper grammar. Some of the basics that the twitterverse seem to be unaware of are the differences between plurality and possession. Some examples:

  • There
  • Their
  • They’re
  • To
  • Too
  • Two

The list goes on forever. In short, the red squiggly line is your friend. Use it.

Thou shalt @ or dap.

We all do it; it’s okay. If you’re engaged in a debate or moderately-charged discussion, you must mention that person directly- it’s imperative. This rule can be applied to regular conversation as well as any sports-related banter. Speaking in general terms about somebody via social media without mentioning them is the cyber equivalent of “I’m not pointing any elbows *points elbow*, but somebody has a Tony Romo Fathead in their bathroom.”

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep thou in perspective.

For most of you ranting football fans, you’re going to be going ballistic on Sunday. No matter what deity you send up a prayer to, try to keep it relatively clean. It is possible to make an decent argument or express yourself accurately without having the FCC and/or Twitter put you in jail. This brings me to my next point; don’t release every little thought. RGIII runs 77 yards for a touchdown? Go ahead and let off an “AHHHHH!!!” tweet, that’s okay. If you tweet too often you will be subject to Twitter jail, it’s a real place. If you haven’t been then don’t worry just yet.

Honor thy father and thy mother.

You want a general rule of thumb so you don’t have 5,000 tweets with four-letter words pop up in a google search engine? Make your profile private or even better, don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of your mother or father. You must realize that anything you say can be cut, pasted and retweeted- even if your account is private. Also, you may think Brian Scalabrine isn’t going to respond, but then he does. He takes your words and puts them up for all of his followers. Now your “I guess white men really can’t jump” comment becomes the next hot-button issue via the live scroll on CNN.

Thou shalt not kill.

Don’t kill anybody via Twitter or Facebook. The latest person that people tried to kill off was Michael Jordan. People were reporting heart attacks and buying up his shoes just in case. These are also the same people that believe Chris Bosh’s father was a velociraptor from Jurrasic Park. The gist of this rule is to do some fact-finding before you decide that what people are saying is true. Last season, a rumor that Michael Vick broke his arm spread farther than LeBron’s hairline within a matter of minutes. Do your due diligence and save the bombs for after your team wins.

Thou shalt not talk smack without prior allegiance.

The worst kind of sports fan you will ever come across is a fan that “doesn’t like any team” or “likes multiple teams, equally”… bullsh–. If you like more than one team, you like no teams and your opinion(s) are rendered worthless. People with no dog in the fight (sorry, Mike) like to “troll”, as the kids call it now. They roam the streets of Twitter and Facebook looking for a fight to start or a star athlete to tweet after a poor performance. If you wish to remain “neutral” but have the ability to criticize either side: be Teddy Bruschi, go work for ESPN, and then talk about how Chad Ochocinco isn’t allowed to be mesmerized by Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. Otherwise, stick to throwing out the occasional “wow, Cam Newton can run.”

Thou shalt not steal.

Steve Czaban just tweeted something hilarious. It’s filled with F-bombs and even incorporates a play on John Beck’s mullet. This tweet is the funniest thing in the world, but it’s 139 characters. There’s no room to mention Mr. Czaban so what do you do? You steal it. You pass this tweet of epic proportions off as one of your own and receive all of the lore and hype it brings. But then suddenly somebody recognizes his words spewing from your account. Your word is now useless. You might as well pack it up, change your email address and move to North Dakota. Don’t steal another person’s thoughts, ideas, general premise or actual words without mentioning them in that tweet or post. It’s just not a good look. This issue is mainly prevalent in the retweeting of private accounts, but still an issue nonetheless.

Thou shalt not commit any act that shalt lead to questioning of thy fanhood.

If you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan you do not wear purple and black on Sunday. You do not say things such as “I wish we had Joe Flacco” and you certainly do not tweet such things. When your team loses, you lose. Everybody knows that guy that says “I just want to see a good game”, no. If you don’t have a thirst for blood leading up to, during, and after the game, you may not be a true fan. Your team is your team. “Oh, I use the Eagles in Madden though.” No. You play with your squad and you win with your squad. You can have other options, should you encounter a fan of the same team. You ride or die with your team. It’s the only way to live.

Thou shalt not take social media too seriously.

The golden rule of social media is to take it for what it is, media. It is not to be taken very seriously. Can you actually obtain valuable information through these networks? Yes. If somebody calls you a jackass (like a donkey), do you take it to the point where you’re googling addresses? No. Now, you don’t even have to unfollow that person that you absolutely despise on social media but love in real life. Certain applications will allow you to mute people or disable them from retweeting things on to your timeline. Use the tools available to you! It’s never that seriou

We will now open the floor to our readers. Feel free to chime in with your commandments for social media and sports. Also, head on over to Twitter and follow the blog (@RiggosRag) and myself (@KMawyer2).

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