So you've heard about this new-fangled thing the kids are using, called Twitter. But as an MMA fan, is it worth your time? You just figured out Facebook, for fuck's sake!
Inevitably, about once a week, there comes a few posts that begin:
"Yeah, Fighter X tweeted that his foot/hand/shoulder/elbow was a little sore/swollen/numb/amputated, but besides that, he feels great!"
"Typical Fighter X, always bitching about injuries, but did you see his tweet about Fighter Y? Shit was hysterical/lame/racist/in Portuguese!"
"Yeah, that's why I don't use Twitter. Too much garbage/bullshit/Bieber fans/black hashtags."
I was anti-Twitter for many a year, but since I joined and really dove in about a year ago, I'm immersed in it. I love it, but it's not for everybody. Here are some FAQ that I'll try my best to answer.
"BV, as an MMA fan, why should I join Twitter?"
Speed. You will never have access to what's happening in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (and sports, news, politics, breaking news, etc...) as quickly as you will on Twitter. The gents that run the greatest MMA site on the world....BLOODY ELBOW (cheap pop) do a really fantastic job of being the most up-to-date MMA news site out there. Seriously. A BE staffer and I even had a conversation regarding my frustration that paid MMA writers who have books out were hot on the Marius Zaromskis knockout kick FIVE DAYS after it made the rounds that started on BE. In internet terms, tweeting a link about Whitemare's kick five days later might as well be five years later. We live in an information age and Twitter is hands-down the best place to get anything you need.
"What are some big drawbacks to joining Twitter?"
For one, your view of fighters will change. That is an absolute. Better or worse, it will. You will see fighters (and personalities) at their most raw, stripped down base. The reason some of us got a giant belly laugh out of Miesha Tate complaining about Ronda Rousey using looks to her advantage is because we follow her on Twitter. Not only does she post pics of herself, ahem, not exactly in fight gear, but she retweets people saying how hot she is constantly. Rousey is worse. She's good for a few dozen "you can armbar me anytime, you so sexy lulz!" retweets a day that clog my timeline. Twitter note: you can very easily reply to a person privately to where only the replyee and whomever follows both the replier and replyee can see. But Miesha and Ronda both make it so EVERYONE following them can see that @NorthSouthMyFace69 thought they were hot. However, after her loss to Miesha, Marloes Coenen stayed in the states for a while and her Tweets about enjoying American food/festivals/culture were outstanding. If you've ever seen a Twitpic of Marloes Coenen eating a rack of ribs, you're missing out.
But I don't want to be labeled a sexist, there are PLENTY of male examples too. Like Rich Franklin (and many vegans) constantly lecturing you on how shitty you eat, more than a few fighters who get waaayyy too religious a ton, BJ Penn being as aloof and out of touch as you'd expect, guys like Frank Trigg using Twitter to plug whatever they're selling, and maybe most infuriating, fighters who get way too political on Twitter. On either side. Have an opinion, by all means, but at least have it be educated. Don't use your "fame" as a soapbox for shit you know nothing about. King Mo and Rampage droning on and on about "they haters". So on and so forth.
However, it's not all doom and gloom! Many, and I mean MANY fighters are wonderful to follow. Dan Hardy gets a ton of grief from people, and I understand why, but he's an earnest, genuine, sincere dude on Twitter. Dare I say he's a sweetheart. He'll follow you if you engage him, he asks questions of his followers, he's curious and loves American culture. I remember he asked about liking the Oakland Raiders and what he should expect. Dude's awesome. Jason High can bore you to tears with his rap talk, but he's a damned fun dude to follow and talk with. KenFlo is ungodly witty and has made me double-over a few times. Yves Edwards might be the most likable dude on Twitter. Roxy Modaferri is extremely engaging, and often hosts a chat where you can come in and shoot the shit with her and other female fighters that come in. She was one-stop-shopping when the earthquakes were happening in Japan. Nam Phan and I also had a cool conversation after the piece I wrote about him and Mike Brown. Great dude. There are tons more, and if you come on the chirping bird, you'll find many more.
"Ugh, I fucking hate Fighter X, I don't want to have to listen to him talk."
You don't have to! You can carefully pick and choose who you follow. If you don't want to listen to what a particular fighter is tweeting, you have no need to! The ONLY way you'll ever see what a fighter you mortally hate has to say is if someone you follow "retweets" them. If you're that offended that someone you follow retweeted them, unfollow them! Twitter is exceptionally good at keeping shit you don't like out of your face. Moreso than most mediums.
"If I tweet a fighter, will they respond to me?"
Sometimes, and probably more often than not. You just have to know that fighter/personality. Chael Sonnen, for instance, follows nobody. He tweets a random statement about once every two weeks, and he doesn't respond to anyone. That's how Chael rolls. But a lot of guys/girls are pretty chatty with people.
"Should I ever ask someone for a retweet? What if it's my birthday/anniversary/birth of my son/bar mitzvah/the lump is benign/first Thai massage parlor visit?"
I will hunt you down and bury you. Never, EVER ask for a retweet.
"How can I access Twitter if I'm not home?"
Easy. Twitter is extremely accessible. It offers free apps on iPhone/Android/Blackberry/Windows/iPad, and tons of other devices. Even non-smartphones. You can also have Twitter notifications sent to your email, which I also do. So every time I get banned on Bloody Elbow, I know immediately! As an Android guy, Twitter is incredibly easy to use on my phone.
"I want followers! THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW MY OPINION ON NICK DIAZ!"
Followers will come. Most people get discouraged because they don't get as many followers as they want. This isn't Facebook. Followers are earned. That's what makes it so rewarding. You could go to a service that gets you automatic followers, but only porn bots and assholes do that. I have 62 followers. A few are bots. So be it. Twitter is as grass-roots as they come. The reason I thank every person who comments on my articles is because they did two things: took the time out of their day to read what I posted, AND took the time to comment on it. I can never repay and give back the time they took to focus on me. That's why I take time out to thank them. With followers it's the same. They have to like you so much that on their Timeline (think of it as your Newsfeed on Facebook), they have to read everything you tweet. That's some awesome right there. The fact that Jason Miller's dog has two-thousand more followers than me...well....I follow him too. Such a sucker for dogs. I recommend you do too.
"Can I block someone if they're bothering me? Could I be blocked?"
Yes and Yes. Think of it as unfriending someone on Facebook. They don't see what you write, you don't see what they write. I fully expect to be blocked by a couple people if this ever gains steam and I haven't even commented on the circle-jerk at MiddleEasy.
"Is there any money to made on Twitter?"
Whoa there, stallion. No. Twitter is all about exposure. Comedians use Twitter to plug their podcast which plugs their gigs. Athletes use Twitter to plug their charities or get fans to come out to their games. Twitter is a big plugger of you, the person. Twitter won't make you money, but it might sell you, the person.
"When is the best time to be on Twitter?"
Honestly, during the week on work hours. Yes, during weekends, Twitter explodes because of events that are going on, but you're probably already in the live thread at.....BLOODY ELBOW (cheap pop) during them. In which you won't gain a whole lot. The best time is during the week, where companies and fighters put out a ton of info and content. Just like any news cycle, the content goes out during the day and the reaction goes out that night. Perfect for a boring day at work.
"Can I win anything on Twitter?"
YES! There is tons of FREE shit to be had on Twitter! Besides just fighters, sports teams, news teams, etc... have random giveaways to followers, Dana White and UFC ALWAYS has ticket/merch giveaways at certain locations you can only find on Twitter, I know lots of athletes (Florian is one), has trivia contests to win free swag, Troy Polamalu and other athletes tweet free ticket giveaways. Twitter can net you some awesome shit just for following some people.
"What's a hashtag?"
A hashtag is a common demoninator that binds a topic together. For instance, if you're a big Baltimore Ravens fan (in which case, eat all the dicks), and you want to talk about how Ray Lewis piles on to every downed player to earn a tackle, you'd tag it #Ravens or #RayLewis. So then every one else who also was talking about the #Ravens or #RayLewis would click your hashtag and now you have comments specifically about #Ravens or #RayLewis. It's like CB Radio in interwebz form.
"What's a retweet?"
Sorry, my bad. I've been talking about retweets without every explaining them. Hypothetically, you're following me. I either crack a joke or make an observation so outstanding (unlikely), that you just need to share it with your followers. That's a retweet. Damon (DeoWade) retweeted one of my observations about Jason Miller and it gained me four followers. If you want followers, that's your goal. Be so goddamned hilarious (I'm not), that you get retweeted by someone with people that will want to follow you. However, someone like Stephen Colbert obviously doesn't need my retweets, but I "RT" some of his tweets because they're just that goddamned funny and I want my followers to crack up laughing with me. All about giving back :)
"Is Twitter safe?"
Relax. This isn't MySpace. I don't want to be a shill, but I've never been led astray by Twitter. The security is wonderful, their customer service is fantastic, and I've never had a problem with them. If you're a Facebook user, you should notice how fantastic Twitter is by how many changes Facebook is making to be more like Twitter.
"Besides MMA is there info to be had in other avenues?"
YES!! What's your passion?? Football? Stand-up comedy?? Movies? Books? Knitting? Cooking? Yoga?? I promise, they're ALL on Twitter (and have more followers than me). Twitter is like Forbidden Island, whatever you desire, they're on Twitter.
"Ok BV, I'm signing up, what should my handle be?"
Something unique to you. I don't recommend numbers. Unless of course, it's BVandDietPepsiNo1Fan. Your name is always good, unless you don't want it. Something memorable. When you meet someone and you exchange Twitters and they say "Hey, follow me at MegaFight" and you go "Neat! I'm @John5730320" it doesn't make it easy to remember and makes you seem bland.
"Alright, if I sign up, who should I follow?"
You mean besides @BVandDietPepsi and the many great lads at....BLOODY ELBOW?! (cheap pop). For one, definitely follow @ufc. Whomever is running their feed has been dynamite the past year. Picture the corporate Twitter-shill, and @ufc is the opposite. Humerous, timely, informative, cutting. @ufc is a great follow. @sonnench for all of Chael's batshit tweets. @KCBanditMMA for all of your rap inquiries and REAL TALK. @danawhite for all serious UFC news and his (pro-Bisping) thoughts on UFC, @BasRuttenMMA otherwise I'll find you.
"I'm about to click 'submit', is it worth it?"
I don't know. A few years ago when I was into the behind-the-scenes of indy wrestling, I saw and learned a lot of things I didn't really want to. Wrestling is unlike MMA in as many ways as its like MMA. Your decision to peel away the curtain lies with you. I've been enlightened, I've been disappointed. It's added to my love of MMA and it's taken away from my love of MMA. That final decision lies within you. I just want to give you the right combination if you want to unlock it.