Darron Gibson Quits Twitter: Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking
As Manchester United's Darron Gibson quits Twitter after just two hours, it's time to mark those sports stars who have failed to come to grips with the brave new world of the internet. These are my favourite stories—feel free to add your own examples of social media fails in the comments.
Let's start with Gibson, though. He created his account this afternoon, and had deleted it within 120 minutes. He was apparently taken aback with the deluge of tweets he received criticising his performances for the Red Devils; unkind as some of those comments were, they're nothing like the abuse he'd get from the stands every Saturday.
Perhaps it was just because they were typed out on a screen in front of him that made the difference.
Here's a tip for you, Darron; if you're in a public forum, like Twitter, and particularly if you're a public figure, not everybody is going to like you, and certainly not everybody is going to say nice things to you. It's just the way things work.
Yes, some comments may be over the top, and they're the ones you ignore, but if the others can be construed as having any kind of truth to them, suck it up and smile. Engage with people, gain their respect for being a decent person even if they don't like your work, and for Pete's sake don't throw a tantrum.
Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking: TNA's Kurt Angle
This is secretly my favourite. Following Wrestlemania 27, the Twitter account of TNA's Kurt Angle indicated that he wasn't very happy about people using moves he considers his own. His time line read thus:
Angle claimed the next morning that his account had been hacked into, but happily admitted that he had tweeted the original message about Randy Orton. The saga's dragged on this month with Angle using Orton's RKO in a match, and them exchanging tweets about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
Yes, well, whatever. The question is why those "hacked" tweets are still present in Angle's time line. The inimitable CM Punk, who doesn't tweet much but when he does it's just as amazing as you'd expect, has his own thoughts. He simply posted a droll: "My twitter account was hacked, is the new: I'm a sloppy drunk d*****."
Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking: Cricketer Kevin Pietersen
Warren Little/Getty Images
Yes, we'd all be annoyed if we'd found out we'd been dropped from our national side, and yes, we'd probably send an angry text to a friend, ranting about the decision and cursing everyone involved.
If you do ever find yourself in that situation, please take a tip from England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, and make sure you're not actually texting a tweet directly on to Twitter. He realised his mistake almost instantaneously, but the damage had been done, with screenshots taken and journalists buzzing. It ended in an embarrassing apology.
Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking: LeBron James
Rob Carr/Getty Images
After former club Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the LA Lakers by 55 points at the turn of the year, former star LeBron James (who left the hierarchy and fanbase in uproar when he departed) tweeted: "Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything."
OK, it's freedom of speech, but distinctly unclassy to gloat about your former club's demise, invoking the word "karma." And as for an insistence that you shouldn't wish bad on anybody? Is that not a little hypocritical?
Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking: Liverpool's Ryan Babel
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
So it perhaps wasn't a surprise that Liverpool were fuming—it was more shocking that Ryan Babel tweeted a mocked-up picture of Webb in a Manchester United kit later that evening. The FA charge of improper conduct was inevitable.
Top 5 Sports Stars Who Failed at Social Networking: Conclusion
A guidebook for our sports stars
So that's my top five—Gibson, Angle, Pietersen, James and Babel are all in the Hall of Shame. Tennis player Andy Murray gets an honourable mention for his woeful April Fool—he tweeted that he'd employed his friend Ross Hutchins as his new coach, and it was immediately reported as fact by the UK's Sky Sports News.
Who else have I missed? Let me know in the comments.