Athletes You're Not Following on Social Media but Should Be
The rise of social-media apps as a popular way to stay in touch with friends and family, while also keeping tabs on those jerks that made high school just a little more wretched, is one of the defining elements of 21st-century life.
The concept of picking up a phone and giving a friend a call is positively passe, but broadcasting an unsolicited message about how much you hate airports to him and 2,000 other people—complete with high-definition video of the "hella crazy line at security"—is the new normal.
Social media flag bearers like Facebook and Twitter haven't just changed how we communicate. They've given tens of millions of people unprecedented access to the mundane, daily details of the rich, famous and powerful—including star athletes.
The reality is that access has its limits; with the shroud pulled away, it's become obvious that knowing what's actually on Jose Canseco's doesn't make those thoughts more clever or insightful. And for every top sports story broken via Twitter, there are a billion semicoherent ramblings about...nothing.
It's clear that not all social-media accounts are created equal in sports. If you cast a dragnet to keep tabs on your favorite athletes, your social-media feed is going to be a frustrating mess.
These are the athletes you're not following on social media but should be.
Newly drafted Pittsburgh Steeler Ryan Shazier is actually pretty new to the social-media game—his Instagram account was just recently created—but he hit the ground running. Shazier posts frequently and not obnoxiously, which is a sign of good things to come.
I started following Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman back in March, when he posted this gruesome photo of the aftermath of being hit in the head by a line drive, and I haven’t been disappointed. Unless you speak Spanish, you may want to skip the follow on Twitter, but definitely check him out on Instagram.
Toney Hurd Jr.
Former Texas A&M defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. is a prospect in this year’s NFL draft. Hopefully he makes it as a pro, but if he doesn’t he’s got his economics degree to fall back on. This kid is gracious, thankful and motivated, and most certainly worth checking out on both Twitter and Instagram.
Surfer Nick Fanning isn’t the greatest follow on Twitter, but he more than makes up for it on Instagram. Like most professional surfers, Fanning spends most of his time hanging out in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Plus, he’s got a beautiful girlfriend and an adorable dog.
Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is one of the funnier guys in the NFL, and his sense of humor definitely comes through on social media. He tweets regularly, and his Instagram posts are always something to be seen. Even if you don’t like Barwin much, you’ll probably like ogling his very lovely lady friend.
Sierra Quitiquit is a skier and model (and, according to her Twitter bio, an aspiring ninja) who spends an awful lot of time at the beach. If that’s not a recipe for a successful Instagram account, then nothing is. The fact that she has fewer than 2,000 followers on Twitter is legitimately criminal. Seriously, someone should be prosecuted.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is a great example of why kickers should be seen and heard. He’s a little streaky with his social-media presence, but he’s funny, clever and live tweets sporting events. Plus, he recently tweeted this: “5 years later I see Paul Pierce is still trying to grow out that beard. #patchy.” It’s funny cause it’s THE TRUTH.
Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson must be taking pointers from teammate Darnell Dockett, whose social-media shenanigans are legendary, because he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite follows. Recently he live tweeted the NFL draft on Twitter and his Instagram photos run the gamut from impressively stupid to just plain impressive.
Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn is woefully underfollowed on both Twitter and Instagram. He posts frequently with comically relatable tweets like, “Midnight walk with my dogs. Cause that’s what bored people do.” And judging by the looks of his dogs, somehow that sounds like more of an adventure than it initially would seem.
Forget Kobe Bryant. When it comes to social media, Lakers guard Nick Young is absolutely where it’s at. He posts around the clock to both Twitter and Instagram, and while not every one is a gem, it’s definitely more good than bad. Young is effortlessly funny and entertaining.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Recently drafted by the Green Bay Packers, former Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix obviously has a sense of humor about himself—how else can you explain his first name? He has one of the largest followings of any first-round draft pick, and for good reason. Seriously! That angry bear onesie is so epic it should have its own Twitter account.
If you’re not following Nuggets center JaVale McGee on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. He posts around the clock and almost everything is noteworthy in a very weird and/or funny way—particularly his #JugLife campaign, which involves a lot of drinking…water drinking.