The Twitter Machine


Fail Whale

I learned about the Cavs signing Andrew Bynum while on Twitter.

This is how I get the vast majority of my news. In 140 character chunk.

A few hours after Chris Broussard broke the Bynum news, I called my brother to discuss Chris Grant’s awesomeness and I ended up breaking the Bynum news to him. Same thing happened a few hours later; I met up with some friends to play cards and I ended up breaking the news to them too.

I was stunned. How did you not know about Bynum! It’s been almost two hours! What have you been doing?! I’ve already sent thirty-five snarky tweets about his knees and hair and you don’t even know yet?!


I enjoy it. As frustrating as it can be at times (and we’ll get to that), I get way more frustrated trying to get information out of cable news (both sports and non-sports).

I’ve been on Twitter for four years now and I can’t imagine following sports without it. When a game is on, Twitter is like the worlds smartest sports bar. It can be great. I know social media isn’t for everyone, but how folks can follow sports in 2013 and NOT be on Twitter is one of life’s great mysteries. You can follow Cleveland sports and Chuck Booms is nowhere to be seen!

What’s not to like?

I’ve learned some things in my time on the Twitter.

Pundits love to troll Cleveland fans and Cleveland fans love to get trolled.

Do you know who Ben Maller is? I’ll give you a minute.


Ready? Pencils down.

Ben Maller is nationally syndicated radio host. Apparently. From my understanding, his show is on late night. Anyways, Maller’s new1 thing is to troll Cleveland fans with the lamest shtick.

That’s just high quality comedy, you guys. Ben Maller has some chops.

So what was the result of this trolling? Well, like every time someone trolls Cleveland fans, we had ourselves a good ole collective freak out. We’ll show this guy! Here’s a bunch of attention!

I had no idea who Ben Maller was until he dropped some terrible Cleveland jokes. But thanks to the righteous anger of Cleveland fans, now I’m aware of who this guy is. Point: Maller.

Cleveland fans freaking out at a national pundit is a regularly occurring feature on Twitter. Some guy has the Browns near the bottom of his pre-season rankings? Hater! @HPbasketball was slightly critical of the Cavaliers? Swarm, Cleveland fans! Swarm! Swarm!

Folks love poking the bear and Cleveland fans can’t help ourselves but to respond. It’s a vicious, super annoying, cycle.

Mark ‘Munch’ Bishop tweets exactly like he talks, like he’s mainlining Starbucks.

It’s interesting seeing some of the local radio folks use Twitter. Some get it, some don’t.

Things you say in Real Life but don’t really mean can look way worse when typed out and read.

Have you ever watched a game and said to your buddy, ” man, I hate that [player X]?” I do it all the time. Hell, I did with Craig on the podcast with regards to CJ Miles. Said I “hated” him. Hate. Now, I don’t really mean that (to his credit, Craig did walk me back a bit). I don’t actually hate a professional basketball player. But in Real Life, casual, especially joking, conversations, you’ll hear a lot worse stuff than that. Stuff like, “man, I wish that guy died” or “I hope [player X] catches [some horrible disease]”. Happens all the time in sports bars everywhere.

We view sports (and to a certain degree, politics) as just another “show” on our TV. It’s just one of a multitude of viewing options. Players aren’t people, they’re characters in the sports reality show. At the end of the day, we fans have the same relationship with them as we do with the characters on Game of Thrones. But you sound way less crazy when you say you hate Joffrey on Game of Thrones than if you say you hate CJ Miles. Because Joffrey isn’t real a person2.

But I don’t really hate CJ Miles and his Larry Hughes-esque offense, I just hate the CJ Miles character on the basketball show. And when I say that in a casual Real Life conversation, no one bats an eye. But if you send some angry tweet to (or about) a player, you look a little unhinged.

People hate wearing pants and love bacon.

#NoPants #Bacon

Two things cannot be awesome at the same time. You must always pick a side.

I was on Twitter during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. You remember Game 6? Chicago scored two goals with under two minutes to go to come from behind and win the cup. Both teams pulled their goalie in the final two minutes. It was surreal. It was awesome.

After the game, my timeline erupted with two main themes:

  1. That was an awesome hockey game
  2. The NBA sucks.

What does the latter have to do with the former? I dunno. But because the Stanley Cup playoffs ended in such an epic fashion, that meant the NBA is terrible and rigged3.

I was quite content with how the NBA Finals played out. That was the most epic seven game hoops series I’ve ever watched. Sure, I wanted the Spurs to win4, but Game 6 and Game 7 were amazing. It was exactly what I wanted out of the Finals: amazing basketball played by multiple Hall of Famers. That the Stanley Cup Finals ended in a crazy awesome fashion doesn’t diminish or really have any effect on my enjoyment of Spurs-Heat.

Two things are allowed to be awesome at once.

Cleveland athletes probably shouldn’t mention LeBron unless they’re making fun of him. Nothing good comes from it.

Cleveland fans love being outraged (see: Maller, Ben) and hate LeBron (see: Decision, the). Many professional athletes like and appreciate LeBron James, 4-time NBA MVP and 2-time NBA champion.

Guys like Tristan Thompson, Josh Gordon, and Phil Taylor expressed love/appreciation/fandom/general happiness after the Heat won their second straight title. Cleveland fans were not pleased and let these guys know about it.

  1. It is unrealistic to expect people not from NE Ohio to dislike LeBron.
  2. It is unrealistic to expect athletes not to tweet about sports.
  3. It is unrealistic to expect Cleveland fans appreciate a Cleveland athlete’s social media love for LeBron.

It’s a vicious cycle. On one hand, players should be aware that they’re opening a can of worms when they mention LBJ in a positive light. But man, Phil Taylor had some horrible, horrible tweets sent his way. So is the lesson, “be careful what you say, or Cleveland fans will go absolutely bugsh*t crazy and send you horrible things”? But that sounds eerily like, “look at what you made me do”…. and that kinda creeps me out.

Is the answer “Cleveland fans should just lighten the eff up”? Is it, “Cleveland athletes should never ever tweet about the best player in the NBA”?

I really don’t know.

Related: most athletes are really boring follows.

Not all, but most.

Here’s the thing, guys whose job is to be in super physical condition may not have the most interesting, well thought out tweets. Sure, there are guys like Chris Perez or Jarrett Jack, people who are quick and smart and don’t really care what you think. Those guys are the exception. Most professional athlete timelines are filled with nuggets like this:

Good stuff, Zo.

Twitter is a fun place. You can meet the most interesting people and read the most interesting articles. You can get real time updates of a sporting event, a free agent negotiation or Something Actually Important like a political revolution or a tsunami. In the grand scheme of things, that I found out about the Cavs signing Andrew Bynum hours before my friends isn’t all that important.

Twitter has its issues, but you literally cannot get something faster than live tweets. Sometimes it can be a bit much. Sometimes you need a break.

But Twitter isn’t going anywhere and I can’t recommend it enough.

  1. I assume it’s new, because I figure I would’ve heard of him before now []
  2. and he’s a major major dick []
  3. please explain to me how the refs rigged it so the Spurs blew a five point lead in under 30 seconds. thx []
  4. Cav AnCleveo Spursaliers! []