Social media numbers have become an unofficial statistical category for athletes in this era. We track how many followers they have, gauge their influence on the Web and analyze their every post as it pops up on our screens.
But who is on their Twitter timelines and Facebook news feeds? Who do they give a shout-out to on Follow Friday (#FF)?
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley is one of the most engaged NFL players on social media and is approaching a combined 500,000 fans and followers on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. Yet Woodley keeps the number of users he follows to a relatively select few. He took the time to break down his favorite folks on Twitter. Here’s Woodley’s take on his top five.
— Funk Flex !!!!!(@funkmasterflex) June 15, 2012
@funkmasterflex: Trust me, this dude has more info than CNN, ABC, NBC, TNT, BET, MTV, TMZ, Mad TV, you name it. LOL.
Woodley’s not kidding. Flex (and/or his team) has posted over 100,000 tweets. From what kind of Mac laptop you should buy to who got the boot from the “Basketball Wives” cast, this feed has you covered.
— American Top Team (@AmericanTopTeam) May 27, 2012
Perhaps Woodley can follow Jared Allen in becoming the next NFL player/MMA cornerman.
Protein for Building Muscle? fittip.me/LmbI2y
— Amy Mac (@fitness) June 8, 2012
@fitness: As a professional athlete, my performance on the field has a lot to do with how I take care of my body off the field. They help keep me informed of the "do's" and "don'ts".
Now, is this tweet is considered a fitness do or don’t?
— DJ DRAMA (@DJDRAMA) November 13, 2010
@DJDRAMA: The guy knows his music, but he's also a cool dude, proved by the fact that he shouted me out on Twitter when I first signed up.
— American Express (@AmericanExpress) June 14, 2012
@AmericanExpress: I'm trying to move from platinum to the BLACK Card. That thing is heavy like a Super Bowl ring.
Here’s to hoping that when that day comes, Woodley learns from DeShawn Stevenson’s social media faux pas. In 2007, the Nets’ forward posted a MySpace photo of himself holding up his black Amex – and presumably realized very quickly that he would need a new card with a different number.
NFL Twitter oops
Getting out of a traffic ticket because you’re a professional athlete is nothing new. Tweeting about it may be. In a tweet that was later deleted, Raiders rookie Christo Bilkudi wrote, "Ran a red light n got pulled over, cop ask me what I do n I said I'm a Raider, I dodged a 428$ ticket. #BigLeague." More like #BigMistake. Next time Bilkudi gets stopped, the officer may not be so forgiving.
Another thing athletes should refrain from tweeting? Their playbook. Denver Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams posted a photo of his new iPad playbook – which unintentionally showed several formations. While the move caused a minor uproar on social media, Williams’ teammates brushed it off, as did coach John Fox.
Elsewhere in the social mediasphere
Social media helped reunite an Irish soccer fan with the Euro 2012 tickets he left in an airport store before departing for Poland.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA’s social media champions, according to social media company Unmetric. The company took into account a variety of factors. The same report also found the Clippers to be the fastest-growing team on Facebook and the Thunder to be the fastest-growing team on Twitter.
A pair of Australian swimmers have been banned from using social media during the Olympics and will be sent home from the London Games early after posting controversial photos on Facebook of themselves posing with guns.
Vancouver Whitecaps striker Long Tan took to Twitter to complain about his lack of playing time. The outburst certainly didn’t help his case as, the team suspended him for his critical comments.
Got a story we should feature? Have a site we should check out? Who's on your must-follow list? Tweet me at @BurnsOrtiz. If your idea gets mentioned in this column, so will you. Follow Playbook on Twitter at @ESPNPlaybook.