It's not a very close secret that I am a massive fan of Twitter. I'm able to easily read great blogs that are put out into the cricketing blogosphere (and indeed have discovered some great blogs through my use of Twitter), and I'm also able to follow the cricketers of whom I write, and get an insight into what it means to be a top-level player.
Twitter, and indeed all social-networking sites, are designed so the user can express their feelings freely to whoever is interested in reading them. I currently follow 210 people on Twitter, because I am interested in what those 210 people have to say. In the past there have been moans from certain tweeters that cricketers just follow the PR line, or say nothing of any relevance. Which makes it a refreshing breath of fresh air when somebody holds their hands up and tweets something honest.
This week, new Glamorgan captain Alviro Petersen (@AlviroPetersen) came out after a bad day at the office, and tweeted ""I'm playing the worst cricket of my career, people always upset with me, responsibility, some like it when I fail. Can't get worse... It's a lonely place when things aren't going well... I will never quit though and will only take those with me who support me." While some cricketers wouldn't go public with their feelings, especially only a couple of weeks into his reign as captain, surely Alviro's honesty is something that should be applauded? Twitter is a means of letting the fans know exactly how the players feel, making them more accessible and human. And while I'm sure Alviro would love to be tweeting about how well it's going, it isn't. So, just like the millions of other users who express their true emotions through their tweets, Alviro has shared his emotions. Is there that much wrong with that?
One of the excellent blogs that I have found since joining Twitter is David Green's "The Reverse Sweep" (highly recommended, by the way). After reading Alviro's tweets, David had a bit of an unseemly spat with Petersen, leading to this article, in which he explained his previous tweets. (Read it for the full story). Basically, David wrote (as he did personally to Alviro on Twitter) that some things should remain private and in the confines of the club.
I see David's point, and it is a fair one. Alviro, however, has responded by publically attempting to damage David's reputation as one of the best cricket bloggers around, by point-scoring (again, on Twitter) "Just had a look at the article in the reverse sweep. Now that guy David Green would be the sly ones I'm talking about...David Green, if you have your facts right, then write mate. Shit journalism. Its the reverse sweep!"
Now this is where my point gets a bit murky. As a rule, I see that cricketers are just people like you and me. In the week that footballers Darron Gibson and Kevin Davies have exited Twitter due to the constant abuse they've had to suffer, it is unfair to bombard anyone on Twitter with vile spam. In the era of celebrity in which we live where sportstars are becoming increasingly detached from us fans, Twitter is an invaluable medium which gives a link between the players and the public and makes them far more accessible, and as such, it would be a massive shame if anyone was scared away from it due to abuse. One of the key fundamentals of Twitter is free speech and honest displaying of the user's emotions, which is what Alviro has done, which I would support. Conversely, David has disagreed with him, and in another display of free speech, has disagreed with him. What has followed has been petty and quite frankly ugly. I feel for David, who has spent long hours trying to build up the reputation of his blog. I hope that Alviro's defamation hasn't made all of that work in vain.
As a rule, people shouldn't send abuse to celebrities on Twitter, as it is an unneccesary thing to do from one person to the other. But it is a two-way street, and if Alviro wants to earn the respect of his 8,920 followers, he needs to realise that to get respect, you have to give it. It's a shame when Twitter gets all ugly like this, and I hope everyone can move on from the incident. I hope Alviro continues to tweet honestly, because it is a real insight into the mind of a county captain and international opener. And I hope David continues to post top quality blogs. Basically, the moral of this blog is, share the love on Twitter. Be unto your tweeters as you would like your tweeters to be unto you...
And remember - follow me @shortmidwicket!