Thursday, 22 August 2013
TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET?
BY JIM BLACK
O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us, an’ foolish notion.
Robert Burns penned these words 227 years ago after noticing an upper class lady in church with a louse roving feely in her bonnet.
The Bard chastises the louse for not realising how important his host is, and then reflects that, to a louse, we are all equal prey, and that we should be disabused of our pretentions if we are to see ourselves through each other’s eyes.
Perhaps certain members of the golf fraternity would do well to familiarise themselves with Burns’ words.
Standards are slipping in the Royal & Ancient game and some who earn a handsome living from the sport are in danger of becoming “twittering wrecks.”
Ian Poulter, inspiration for the miracle of Medinah, was rightly lauded as Europe’s principal Ryder Cup hero 11 months ago.
But why does Poulter feel such an overwhelming need to tweet almost all of his waking thoughts?
Clearly unhappy with his first round performance in the Open and the pin positions, Poulter tweeted that Muirfield’s 18th hole needed a windmill and a clown’s mouth.
What exactly did he mean by his comment? If he considered the pin position to be nothing short of a joke, why didn’t he just say so in plain speak?
Of course plain speech is not always wise. Steve Elkington caused a furore when he tweeted during the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale that the host town, Southport was full of fat tattooed guys and girls before adding that the local fast food was s...t.
Had he stopped there, the Australian might have escaped with a slap on the wrist, but he risked prosecution on the grounds of racist behaviour likely to cause offence when he also made several disparaging remarks about members of the local Pakistani community.
So incensed were Poulter and Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell that they felt a need to respond to Elkington’s rant, adding to the sense of over-importance that was attached to his comments in the first place.
More recently, Lee Westwood became embroiled in several anger twitter exchanges when he reacted badly to criticism of his last round in the USPGA.
The Englishman later conceded that alcohol had helped fuel his reaction.
Poulter, Elkington and Westwood are not alone in looking like twits.
But why do so many modern sportsmen and women feel such an overwhelming desire to tweet?
Is it the case that they believe the world will be a much poorer place without their particular take on life or is it ego-driven by the need to constantly hog the limelight?
But Scotland’s Marc Warren may have sparked a new trend away from twitter after announcing that he will no longer be engaging in regular social exchanges
Warren, a self-confessed Rangers fan, was sickened by a stream of vile bile and has decided to de-clutter his life.
What are the chances of any of Warren’s sporting counterparts in the world of football following suit?
Don’t hold your breath. I confidently predict that we’ll go on being bombarded with a daily diet of tripe and nonsense that fuels the worst excesses of those who feed off such largely worthless tosh.
Moreover, it appears that football clubs and sport large is incapable of applying constraints. So, too, the government, it would seem.
Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and the various other social media websites are here to stay, but at what price?
Even a single youngster taking their life as a consequence of cyberspace attacks by trolls is one too many.