Ever since its inception in 2006, Twitter has been helping entrepreneurs, celebrities, jobseekers and narcissists overshare about their lives. And few groups have taken to Twitter quite like professional footballers.
Among the most colorful, entertaining tweeters in the footballing world are megastars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand, rebellious figures like Joey Barton, national team icons like Landon Donovan and, um, well, Robbie Savage.
But there are plenty of other footballers out there who haven't signed up for Twitter yet (despite plenty of joke accounts in their steads), but could be quite entertaining if they did.
Here are 17 football personalities we think should join their tweeting colleagues. If you have some other footballers you'd like to see take the 140-character plunge, have at it in the comments section.
For the record, there is a joke account for the Real Madrid centre-back with an about section that reads, "Cariñoso y tierno, amante del fair play" (Caring and tender, lover of fair play). Not exactly in line with the tough-as-nails defender's ferocious reputation.
Twitter could give bad boy Pepe the opportunity for, with apologies to Mr. Daniel Tosh, a Web Redemption. With the chance to engage directly with his fans, maybe we'll see Pepe's not at all like his on-pitch persona and actually a very approachable, sensitive soul.
Either that, or he's just as nuts off the pitch as he is on and he'd go on totally amazing rants.
There are plenty of fake Twitter accounts imitating the Manchester United legend, attempting to give us a pretty clear indication of what it would be like if he did have a Twitter. One in particular, "@eric7cantona," is a series of philosophical rambles and musings and the obvious references to matters of sardines and seagulls ("A caged bird. A jar of preserves. Capped and bound. Excluded. Trapped. Opposed by freedom. I cannot be contained.").
This is pretty much exactly what we hope an actual Eric Cantona Twitter account would look like.
The highest IQ at Stamford Bridge would certainly bring some intelligence and articulation to the 140-character mini-blog. Couldn't you just see him riffing on about current events and nuclear physics or what have you alongside some tidbits of insight about Chelsea's match that day? Or tweeting in Latin, because he probably can?
It would also give Lamps the opportunity to respond to his haters directly.
Over the summer, Anzhi Makhachkala's bosses made Samuel Eto'o the highest-salaried athlete in the world. And because Twitter is weird and voyeuristic like that, if the striker were to have an official account, it may give us some insight into how the world's highest-earning footballer feels about that, and what he could possibly be doing with all that money.
And for that matter, what is there for a big-money football megastar to do in the bustling capital of Dagestan? It's a city of almost 600,000, so there must be quite a bit going on.
When the fiery AC Milan defensive midfielder came under fire last season after his altercation with Tottenham Hotspur coach Joe "Jaws" Jordan, trying to choke and later head-butting the coach after he allegedly used anti-Italian slurs toward Gattuso, the media on both sides ate it up.
Gattuso was called "scum" and written about as though he was an animal.
Perhaps if the Rossoneri star had been on Twitter, he could have taken matters into his own hands and explained what happened from his perspective instead of letting the media run rampant. Or, instead of trying to choke Joe Jordan, he could have just vented about the match on Twitter, which is perhaps a much healthier outlet.
He may not be the biggest fan of Twitter, which is a shame, because Sir Alex would be the perfect candidate to be a successful 140-character mastermind. Few people can dish out real talk the way the Manchester United manager can.
He will say exactly what is on his mind and do so quite thoughtfully, so why shouldn't he take that kind of honesty and outspokenness to the digital age?
He could even engage in his so-called "mind games" with other managers over Twitter, and it would be rather interesting to see how those would manifest.
And speaking of Premiership managers who ought to take the social media plunge, we can't help but also include Arsene Wenger alongside Sir Alex. It hasn't been the ideal season so far for Le Professeur, so perhaps the opportunity to engage directly with Arsenal supporters (many of whom will have suggestions for him, no doubt) may prove beneficial.
Plus, there's a reason they call Wenger "Le Professeur." His intelligent, cerebral managerial style has led to many the insightful comment, so if he were to join Twitter, we could expect some choice 140-character bon mots.
The self-proclaimed second-best player in the world (after Lionel Messi) would certainly rank high among tweeting footballers, too. It would be interesting to see Super Mario take to Twitter to get a first-hand perspective of all the strange and wonderful situations he's gotten himself into since his arrival at Eastlands, from the Balotelli who saves kids from school bullies to the one who, as the song goes, "drives around Moss Side with a wallet full of cash" to his recent improvements on the pitch.
If he's half as entertaining in 140 characters as he is in his everyday life, he would definitely be one worth following.
There have been plenty of fake Gazzas on Twitter, but none could possibly measure up to the real deal. One of the most entertaining figures in British football history would certainly be able to deliver some priceless moments and commentaries in 140 characters.
The same could probably be said about a lot of teenage wunderkinds who are getting a lot of hype as of late. Neymar and Raheem Sterling come to mind, but they're both already on Twitter.
With the Arsenal winger getting so much attention as of late after his performance against Olympiacos and his rising profile within the club, it would be fascinating to get a first-hand perspective (without the pressure or prompt of press and public relations handlers) on how that kind of fame and pressure impacts a young starlet.
Edit: Turns out AOC does have a Twitter. (Thanks, Mr. 999!)
He's a legend, he has a parody religion devoted to him in his native Argentina and he's said some downright crazy things over the years.
There are many joke accounts in his name (Sample tweet from one: “I am happy your psychic octopus is gone, it's your fault we lost the World Cup."), but the real Diego Maradona would probably be even more entertaining. #HandOfGod
Hopefully, Jorge Campos would have something of a niche Twitter account, one that provides 140-character tutorials on how to make those totally ridiculous/amazing gaudy 80s neon homemade kits he used to wear on the pitch.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Love him or hate him, admit it—you'd totally follow Emmanuel Adebayor if he had a real Twitter account. Even this fake Adebayor Twitter account has more than 3,000 followers (Sample tweet: "North London Derby tomorrow. My old team against whoever the hell I'm playing for at the moment...even I've lost track...").
He's exactly the kind of outspoken, ego-heavy, reputation footballer for whom Twitter was made. Think of the arguments he would start! The grandiose claims he would make! He could be the new Joey Barton, except somehow less endearing.
The Liverpool striker's party-boy reputation got him in trouble with England coach Fabio Capello earlier this season, and certainly had Carroll had a Twitter account, Capello might know a whole lot more about what happened that night in Barbados. So maybe Andy Carroll shouldn't have a Twitter.
Although if he did, the added possible layer of transparency about what he's doing when he's not on the pitch could make him more conscientious about what he posts on the Internet and help keep him honest. Like it did for Gregory van der Wiel.
The Manchester United midfielder certainly made headlines because of Twitter earlier this year when he took legal action against the site to prevent Imogen Thomas from going public about their affair.
Perhaps if he were to have his own account, he could improve his image by promoting openness and transparency. Oh, and it would be a great tool for marketing his fitness DVDs.
How Vinnie "The Juggernaut, B*tch" Jones is not already on Twitter (at least not officially) is beyond us. The Hollywood All-Stars Football Club, the football club founded by Jones and Jay Hotch, has a Twitter, but the Vinnie Jones Twitter (unverified, so we don't know if it's really him or not) is rarely updated and when it is, it's mostly about HASFC matches or his iPhone app.
But Jones is the sort of colorful, thoroughly entertaining character for whom Twitter is truly made. If he really got engaged with the social networking site, think of the conversations he could have with other players and celebrities. He could reunite with the "Crazy Gang" online and hilarity would ensue.
And if he had Twitter, he could keep fans updated on all his wonderful FunnyOrDie.com exploits, such as "Vinnie Jones' Attack Cardio."
Messi is arguably the best player in the world right now, so it seems strange that he doesn't have an official Twitter account, or at least one maintained on his behalf by some very savvy PR people. We can't help but wonder what he's thinking most of the time when he's making those crazy goals, so perhaps a Twitter account would give us a bit of insight into the inner monologue of Messi.
The public perception of the Barcelona winger seems to be that he's a pretty down-to-earth guy despite his successes, and we could see him being good about communicating and engaging directly with fans through social media.
And with a number of non-profit organizations using Twitter to engage with larger audiences and court celebrity involvement, he could use it as a tool to promote the Leo Messi Foundation.
Added bonus: Think of the Twitter beef and back-and-forth that could ensue between him and Cristiano Ronaldo. El Clásico 2.0.