I love social media! I especially love Twitter. I have the ability to speak to like minded individuals, I can talk to Nick Williams about his Beast Mode, Dan Carter about his new book. He has one apparently. I can talk to Nigel Owens and ask his opinions, development of Referees in Wales and more globally. What I don't do however is sit behind the sanctity of my keyboard, phone etc and attack a player! This direct ridicule drove Jared Payne away from genuine supporters. Yesterday Mike Brown applauded the referee after a red card was brandished. It was the correct decision. This photo was then immediately tweeted around the world and led to Mike Brown being called out. Now Mike Brown does have history of bordering on the side of questionable behaviour on the pitch. Never breaking the law just 'acting' against the fair play and ethos. He defended the photo saying that he was applauding the referee in getting it right. Wrong Mike! You don't. You get with your team mates, you ensure your player is ok and then you work out where to attack and benefit from a one man advantage. That said the general public can announce their displeasure with Mikes actions, question it, even ask why, but always remember he is arguably one of the in form 15s in the world, it's clear his hard work and sacrifices has got him there. I'm not saying don't slate him as he's good, I'm saying don't jump on Twitter and attack anyone. The right minded individuals who read your tweets believe that you're an imbecile whose smart phone is smarter than you.
Yes I believe Mike Brown was in the wrong, yes I liked him responding to people, but I am sure that the same people are looking for any way to critise him. I'm sure the Sarries fans will be hoping he starts at 15 for England come 6 Nations. Haterz gonna hate.
For my Two pennies (Rich C-K)
I once called Mike Brown arrogant on Twitter,I forget the context of the Tweet, but it was not meant in a negative way, it was more of a description of Browns swagger on the pitch, a few Quins fans jumped on me to say it was an unfair criticism, a few tagged Brown into the tweets, I explained I meant it as a compliment as all the best players have the arrogance and self belief that they can do anything and to my surprise, he Tweeted back to say he found it complimentary and we had a little chat over Twitter, he seemed a genuinely nice bloke with that 'competitive arrogance' that all cult heroes (and obvious villains to the opposition) have.
Like Andrew, I love the fact we can interact with the players as well as other fans on Twitter, I still go all Fangirl when I get a player follow me back and love it when a player responds to a tweet of mine. I've had some superb responses to some of the blogs on here from the professional ranks and I know we have a few big names that are reglar readers off the back of our Twitter feeds. The power of social media!
Players can accept constructive criticism (mostly) but if you abuse them for a spur of the moment thing, you'll drive them away from this unique interaction that they give to the fans. I'd rather have guys like Brown responding publicly on Twitter rather than the unnamed England international who emailed me to complain about my blog discussing the chances of the original 50 man World Cup squad as he felt I'd given him an unfairly low chance of selection and decided to email me to tell me what an idiot I am (he didn't make the 50 and I was proven right....)
Twitter provides us a platform to talk to our heroes. Don't let pettiness drive them into a protective bubble!