Tweeting is often compared to shouting into a gorge, a la the climactic scene in Garden State — a meaningless, but nonetheless cathartic act of self-expression.
But one of the glories of Twitter is you can tell powerful figures and institutions to suck your ass, and there’s a good chance that message will actually be received.
Those frustrations rarely reach the upper echelons of that institution, though, and are instead fielded by lowly, fresh-faced social media managers who have no real decision-making power. And those social media managers are sick and tired of being trolled everyday — especially in the realm of Sports Twitter.
The poor soul who runs the Twitter account for the Minnesota Timberwolves tweeted a plea to fans to please stop inundating the account with suggested trades ahead of the NBA’s Thursday trade deadline.
The solidarity from other social media managers at other NBA franchises was more or less immediate:
Even as an extremely casual sports fan, though, I can relate to the borderline psychotic behavior of diehards. The entire point of being a sports fans is forming a fake emotional connection to an organization you have no role in, and getting unreasonably happy and/or upset about their performance. (Academics might call this tribalism.)
I’ve tweeted at my hometown Chicago Bears exactly twice. The tweets occured six and a half years apart from each other, and both were about former Bears tight end Greg “Third Leg” Olsen.
I know why I sent those tweets — I’ve always had a love affair with cocky tight ends from the University of Miami (e.g., Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow II), and was downright giddy when the Bears drafted Olsen, the latest person in that rich legacy at the time. So I was furious when the Bears traded him for effectively nothing.
But even then, I didn’t @ mention the team directly, meaning my complaints were essentially subtweets. I never anticipated the Bears actually responding to my angry fan missives, so mentioning them seemed unnecessary.
What about everyone else who does @ mention their favorite team, though? Do they really believe their message will have an effect on the front office’s decision-making?
According to Cleveland Cavaliers fan @Obey216, yes, that’s exactly why fans tweet at their favorite teams — they want their voices heard and to influence personnel decisions, and what better venue for that feedback than Twitter.
Others, such as Hawks fan @bill_cosby_drug (problematic username), have no such delusions.
He just tweets to offer his humble support for the franchise.
Some fans have no explanation at all, proving both the gorge shouting, and “irrational fan who thinks he’s actually part of the organization” theories posited above.
This doesn’t do much to refute the claim that sports fans are crazy idiots, but again, that’s a large part of the appeal of being a fan in the first place. You scream at the television. You engage in endless arguments about inherently unresolvable sports debates. You wear your team’s jersey.
And increasingly, you tweet at your favorite team about how they need to trade Tyreke Evans’ bum ass, or ship off Marc Gasol and start the rebuilding process already.