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Is Twitter The New Measuring Stick For NFL Players?

We’ve recently noticed a curious dynamic regarding the relationship between NFL players and Twitter.

In an industry where the men who play the game compete with each other regarding cars and wives and salaries and, um, foot size, there’s a new — and very public — tool for determining who’s doing the best.

It’s Twitter, and the key metric is the number of followers that a given player has attracted.

Why else would players like linebacker Nick Barnett (10,212) and running back Ryan Grant (4,670) of the Packers promise to donate fairly significant sums of money upon reaching specific follower thresholds?

Others are resorting to different tactics than charity.  Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (3,087 followers) teased a “major announcement” on Monday, and as it turned out he was merely declaring victory and retreating in his lingering contract squabble with the club.

NFL Network’s Warren Sapp (17,738) described the matter on his own Twitter page as a “hoax” aimed at getting more followers.

Dockett has done little to dispel that notion, given the text of his latest (as of this posting) entry:  “My twitt fans help me get my followers up.  RT this message thanks.”

So why do these guys care about their followers?  As one league source told us last night, “It’s not like they’re making any money off it.”

We suppose that, in an indirect way, popularity on Twitter could help companies sift through the best candidates for endorsement deals.  But the only immediate source of gratification for anyone who uses Twitter is the number of folks who have decided, for whatever reason, to track their updates.

And we feel the same way about our own Twitter page (11,317).  Though the fact that we use the new technology as a way to disseminate headlines and story links creates a real business reason for maximizing followers, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t keep an eye on the total follower count, especially as we continue to fall farther behind guys like Rich Eisen (23,775) and Peter King (26,987) and Chris Mortensen (13,503) — and as we accept the fact that Adam Schefter (2,404) will soon be waving at us (or perhaps giving us the finger) as he zooms by in the passing lane.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see what players do in order to get their numbers up, especially as training camps open and they’re all pressed together in close quarters for the next seven months.

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29 Responses to “Is Twitter The New Measuring Stick For NFL Players?”
  1. Stright_Cash_Homey says: Jul 7, 2009 8:51 AM

    Turns out that people who are 25+ are the only ones who use Twitter.
    Everyone else is using Facebook or Myspace or Facebox or Myface. Twitter is for croneys.

  2. mrmagoo says: Jul 7, 2009 8:52 AM

    “Is Twitter The New Measuring Stick For NFL Players?”
    ____________
    Visanthe Shiancoe begs to differ.

  3. DarkAge4BearsFans says: Jul 7, 2009 8:53 AM

    Twitter has to be one of the stupidest things to ever come out of the internet.

  4. Pea Tear Griffin says: Jul 7, 2009 9:11 AM

    So when do you think NFL Players will tweet from the sidelines a la the NBA?
    Could we see endzone tweets after a touchdown? Can someone sign Joe Horn ASAFP please!!!!

  5. Kevin from Philly says: Jul 7, 2009 9:17 AM

    Or, you could do the passive/aggresive thing where you whine on your site about how the other mean guys are passing you, trying to get everyone to feel bad and sign up for your Twit thingy.

  6. Big Stretch says: Jul 7, 2009 9:28 AM

    perhaps along with all these twitter accounts the players will be campaining to play in danecing shows and a tutu.
    ” not that there’s anything wrong with that”

  7. east96st says: Jul 7, 2009 9:33 AM

    What’s the over/under on how many months until one of these morons tweets something that either a) gets him divorced b) gets him suspended/cut and/or c) gets him arrested. You just know one of them is going to get on late at night drunk and/or stoned and admit something that’s going to get him screwed.

  8. godfather says: Jul 7, 2009 9:34 AM

    Maybe Eisen, Mort, King, and soon to be Shefter are ahead of you because they are credible journalists? And not a bad part-time lawyer/terrible writer/blogger that knows nothing about the sport and everything about appealing to the rumor mongering side in all of us.

  9. OranjelloJones says: Jul 7, 2009 9:34 AM

    Tweet this.
    I’m with DarkAge4BearsFans.

  10. LL Live says: Jul 7, 2009 9:35 AM

    In an industry where the men who play the game compete with each other regarding cars and wives and salaries and, um, foot size, Florio writes a blog in his tightey whiteys and size 7 house slippers.
    A guy that has a bunch of Twats following him on Twitter should be able to monitize those extremely loyal followers/stalkers/losers.

  11. straverse says: Jul 7, 2009 9:39 AM

    F twitter.

  12. hayward giablommi says: Jul 7, 2009 9:43 AM

    Just another fad
    It will be gone in six months
    Go away, Twitter

  13. Bassett says: Jul 7, 2009 9:52 AM

    Clearly, NFL players need to read Tribes by Seth Godin.

  14. BobG says: Jul 7, 2009 10:29 AM

    You have to have an IQ under 70 to use Twitter. It’s a requirement when you sign up.

  15. roboninja says: Jul 7, 2009 11:38 AM

    Just what society needs, yet another way to be superficial in your self-worth.

  16. shady says: Jul 7, 2009 12:28 PM

    Kim Kardashian has 1.46 million followers.
    Even Nicole Richie has 471,205 followers. She doesn’t do a damn thing. You have this huge platform. And only have 11,317?
    Here’s a tip: Don’t tweet the f’ing headline of what is on the website! Uh… redundant? Tweet one liners.
    I can’t believe Nicole Richie has 20 times the following of PFT.

  17. Matti Mahacnarblar says: Jul 7, 2009 12:56 PM

    Well whats with Jermichael Finley offering money to a GB charity if enough people follow his wife on Twitter?? Does he want too proove his wife is better then other wives???

  18. bizymare says: Jul 7, 2009 1:05 PM

    OK, Nick Barnett was inspired by the people in Iran to raise money for a charity of his tweeps’ choice to help change lives here. His hook was to get followers by July 4th. Simple, free and he actually is fun to follow AND he interacts with his tweeps.
    To get to his goal, he enlisted the help of Danny Gokey. Ryan Grant and David Clowney joined in too. Who cares if he has 10,000 followers? Some lucky charity (Gokey’s Sophia’s Heart, perhaps?) will benefit. It’s a great idea and very generous.
    I say great job, Nick. And Danny, Ryan and David, too. It’s all good.

  19. seizemusic says: Jul 7, 2009 1:05 PM

    Both Nick Barnett and Ryan Grant posted that purely for charity. They had to be talked into it! And money is going to CHARITY! Why do you care how they decide to give?

  20. MushroomCloudMoFo says: Jul 7, 2009 1:11 PM

    Twitter gets a bad rap. Sure there are the self indulgent morons who feel the need to advertise their “deep” thoughts using cliche OMG!!?!s every 45 minutes, and assume people care, but there are productive uses for it as well.
    I only subscribe to my favorite blogs (with the exception being PFT) and use it as a sophisticated RSS feed. That way instead of going from website to website when I want to read something interesting (or read something Florio wrote), I can peruse headlines quickly.
    It’s not a total waste, just a partial one.

  21. Nancy says: Jul 7, 2009 1:25 PM

    Ok…..enough….The Greenbay Packers mentioned in twitter were LEGITAMENTLY trying to do a good thing. There is a known celebrity (new to fame) that talked to one of the GB Packers and they agreed that if this one GB Packer got a certain number of followers he would donate a certain amount of money to charity which would be voted on through twitter. Two other GB Packers got on board as well. Football players are not the only ones doing this for charity. There are other platforms also. If you don’t follow twitter then you really don’t know the full story. I personally found out through following this known celebrity I mentioned above. Twitter is not for everyone but it certainly isn’t the worst thing on the web.

  22. The Jimmy says: Jul 7, 2009 1:33 PM

    Florio, seriously ……..you have to have some kind of financial stake in Twitter the way you constantly pimp it. You actually got me to sign up for an account and I looked at it for two whole days before I concluded what I had suspected all along. It really sucks.
    And where are the comment ratings? I really neeeded to give MrMagoo a five for his comment at the top of the thread.

  23. pipes714 says: Jul 7, 2009 1:40 PM

    I find it pretty incredible that the first assumption of Nick Barnett’s and Ryan Grant’s motives is the negative. Given the bad rap that NFL players are getting from the actions of an admittedly terrible few, I would think that Nick and Ryan’s creative use of Twitter to raise the profile of their charitable work and philanthropic tendencies would be lauded as the praiseworthy attempt it is rather than derided as self-important nonsense. A little perspective would be nice, people.

  24. pipes714 says: Jul 7, 2009 1:58 PM

    I find it pretty incredible that the first assumption of Nick Barnett’s and Ryan Grant’s motives is the negative. Given the bad rap that NFL players are getting from the actions of an admittedly terrible few, I would think that Nick and Ryan’s creative use of Twitter to raise the profile of their charitable work and philanthropic tendencies would be lauded as the praiseworthy attempt it is rather than derided as self-important nonsense. A little perspective would be nice, people.

  25. berzirk says: Jul 7, 2009 2:16 PM

    I don’t get why you’re spinning it like it’s a bad thing. In the case of Barnett, he’s going to be donating $10k to charity. What’s Mike Florio donating?
    I’m not a big fan of twitter, but if an athlete is using it as a way to connect with fans, and give back to the community, perhaps you should be praising them rather than mocking them.
    Off to follow Adam Schefter so we can both give you the finger while we go by.

  26. Pastabelly says: Jul 7, 2009 2:54 PM

    Mike, don’t worry about your twitter numbers. You’ll get there. King, Reiss, and you do the best job at twitter.

  27. carlajonelle says: Jul 7, 2009 3:57 PM

    If you don’t like twitter, then don’t use it! It’s just as simple as that. If celebrities want to use it to connect with their fans, or to seem more like us regular people, so be it! I think its great what Nick, Ryan, Danny and David are doing. At least it’s something positive instead of the negative things that NFL players are accustomed to getting attention for. Come on people…dang!

  28. jaims2009 says: Jul 7, 2009 10:45 PM

    re: Nick and Ryan–it’s not about popularity, it’s about getting people involved. Not everyone is able to plop down a huge sum of money to charity–this was their way of getting people to take part. Downplaying it as a “popularity” contest is stupid. As someone already noted, if you followed Nick you’d see how he interacts with his followers.
    For those putting down twitter and calling it stupid–try it sometime. At first I thought the same thing, now I see it as more than people posting “just washed my hair” or “wife made me take out the garbage”.
    Also, Nick now has a challenge to his followers, do add to the charity donation by donating a dollar. Ryan didn’t meet his goal but offered to “work something out”.
    How many of you are going to get off your soapbox-florio I’m speaking to you–and help out someone other than yourself?

  29. scooterb25 says: Sep 9, 2009 3:31 PM

    there’s nothing wrong with it and alot of athletes will do it for good.
    Jay cutler for example is going to do it to help raise money for diabetes:
    twitter.com/JCutler6

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