To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question.
On Saturday afternoon, Jets guard Matt Slauson sent out a tweet, announcing his presence to the online world. Slauson had the Twitter account for a while but never used it and with some cajoling from his agent and wife, he ventured into the world of social media.
“Hey twitter world. This is my first official tweet. Thanks for having me. It’s giving me something to do while I sit in the cold tubs,” Slauson tweeted.
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It was the opening foray into the world of “140 characters or less” as Slauson has now begun to connect with social media and Jets fans in a new way. A number of his teammates tweet, including the often humorous Nick Mangold and the usually uplifting Antonio Cromartie. It is a world that Slauson waded into slowly.
“Well I’ve had a Twitter account for about a year, haven’t done anything with it. Been scared of it — decided to send out a tweet and see how it goes,” Slauson told Metro. “Kind of getting back into that social media thing, I was a little timid.”
It can be a scary world, as athletes are quickly realizing. Tweets can be misconstrued and can go viral in a matter of minutes. Earlier this week, Redskins receiver Jabar Gaffney tweeted at a fan heckling him on Twitter that “3-7 ain’t a record to be proud of I’m just proud I ain’t you get a life or kill urself.”
For Erik Manassy, the founder of JetsTwit and a social media consultant, the Twitter-sphere is a place all players shoulder be.
“Players can sometimes be quoted in the media or a quote could be taken out of context and Twitter or social media as a whole is a medium where players can clarify what they meant. It’s also a way to continue dialogue outside of football. Instead of having to rely solely on a marketing manager, under certain guidelines, the player can take an active role with brand recognition 24 hours, seven days a week,” Manassy said. “If the player is putting themselves out there and often, the brand goes up leading to possible business opportunities. The fans win because they read and interact with the player more and the player wins by controlling his/her own destiny.”
Now that he has ventured out into the world of social media, Slauson is hoping to follow in the path of players like Mangold who use the platform as a way to connect with fans. Mangold rarely tweets about football, rather, fans learn about his obsession with the television show “Iron Chef” on the Food Network or how he’s relaxing at night. Defensive end Mike DeVito sends out Bible verses or messages about charity work he is engaged in, mixed in with football talk. The glimpse into life away from the field is what draws fans to follow players and try to engage in conversation with stars who seem unapproachable on Sundays.
“I think it’s a good move for Matt personally. I hear he’s a really nice guy, and you most likely will see his personality come out in his tweets,” Manassy said.
Slauson went from just a handful of followers as of Saturday afternoon to now approaching nearly 1,500. While Slauson has remained mostly humorous so far, talking about time spent on the treatment table and musing how to “retweet,” his overall goal remains to stay connected with the fans.
“I just kind of want to give the fans a glimpse into what I’m doing all day. My wife has been nagging me for a while, that I need to get it going,” Slauson said. “I got it on my phone so we’ll see; just let the good times roll.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.