I am old – not moving down to Florida, bridge club, dinner at 4:30 PM old (though I do enjoy a mean game of Canasta), more like I have a landline and like Coldplay old. But that’s not how I know I’m old. Rather, I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand a word people are saying in my Twitter feed.
I’m truly lost when it comes to the tweets of athletes. Baseball, football, tennis, darts, professional or college level – it makes no difference. I’m totally confused.
Sometimes it’s because their tweets are written in a code I’m unfamiliar with, such as this gem: Relationships these days .. Unlock it now!! Fareal tho . You may have seen the author’s previous work, (.Y.) or 3=============D.
Other times, I can’t get past a sense of accomplishment that doesn’t seem consistent with the person writing. I follow one collegiate football player who describes himself as a model and entrepreneur, only to tweet, “Still up doing this mofo homework.” While I applaud the young man for doing his mofo homework, I can’t help wondering who is managing his mofo fortune while he’s grappling with Organic mofoin’ Chemistry?
Of course, there are other times when I understand all too perfectly what the tweeter means, but wonder why on earth someone would put that out in public, such as reciting this lyric, “FaceTime on the go, she gimme dome from a distance. She love to climb on top, but she love to walk off limpin …” Limping? Is she hurt? I hope she’s okay. Oh wait … I get it.
To be fair, not every athlete uses Twitter so, um … liberally. There are plenty who put out completely coherent, sometime humorous, even thoughtful tweets. But for every one thanking the fans, speaking of his or her family or faith, or promoting a worthy cause, there’s another one that reads, “I’ve created a new animal. It’s a Panda Dragon. It’s pretty cool.” Well, that is certainly going to throw the Chinese calendar out of whack.
In light of these challenges, I guess the fair question is, “Why follow them?” As a rabid sports fan I thought it would be fun and even enlightening to gather information on the players on my favorite teams directly from the sources themselves. I imagined it would give me insight that would increase my attachment, but instead it has left me wondering. Do I root for a bunch of assholes?
I’ve thought quite a bit about that and I’ve determined that the answer is no. They’re just young; I’m the asshole.
Many of these young men and women were zygotes when I finished high school. For some of them, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” came out before they were born. They’re so young that a CD is just a tiny mirror with a hole in the middle.
Everything they write has to be put in this context. They haven’t really known a world without social media, and therefore, a world with privacy. To have their intimate thoughts of the moment blasted across the internet is normal. It is assumed that everyone knows everything. There’s nothing worth hiding, because hiding is impossible anyway. You may as well share everything that comes to mind, even if it’s this:
Such wisdom is kind of refreshing, I guess. I mean, what stupid shit would the 21-year-old me publish if I was in their shoes? It would be much more embarrassing than what they’re putting out. “She love to climb on top … and leave disappointed yo.”
If anyone is to blame for the gobbledygook (told you I was old) on social media, it’s not the generation that has grown up with it. It’s those of us that helped create the monster and now look in from the outside and judge the way it’s being used.
How many of us have had that moment when we met a famous actor, musician, or athlete we really admire? In awe of catching them in person, we mustered enough courage to approach them for an autograph or to just shake their hand, only to be confronted by the realization that our hero is, in fact, a total dick in real life.
This is the new real life. Maybe half of what’s on Twitter doesn’t make sense. Or maybe it just doesn’t make sense to me. Who cares? All the TMI and bizarre over-sharing from athletes and the rest of the barely famous is a benefit. Their generation won’t have any false notions of who their heroes are because they know too much already. We’ve always been too quick to put sports stars on pedestals; today, those pedestals are being chipped away, 140 characters at a time.