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A Little Birdie Told Me...

Joe Johnson

It seems that in our interconnected digital world, we can no longer broadcast our views without being reprimanded by someone. Keen Facebookers soon realised to their peril that private bickering about their bosses wasn’t so private after all, while the social networking revolution allowed vigilant employers to weed out those masquerading as ‘dedicated, professionals’ with a simple Google search of their full name which often revealed a never ending series of pictures of people with traffic cones on their heads.

Professional sportsmen may be leagues above us mere mortals in terms of their fame and fortune but all are equal in the digital sphere and when it comes it Facebook faux-pas and Twitter trip-ups A-class athletes are just as liable to make mistakes as we are. Kevin Pietersen learned this the hard way when his Twitter ‘rant’ landed him in hot water. Comments about his team members and revelations about an upcoming transfer to Surrey resulted in him being axed from England’s Twenty20 match against Pakistan back in August.


Golfing overlords seem to be pre-empting a possible repeat of this at the upcoming Ryder cup by issuing a blanket ban on any tweeting activity. Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin, captains of the European and U.S teams respectively,  have insisted however that tweeting restrictions placed upon their golfers are not as stringent as they are reported to be and that players should only avoid broadcasting ‘secrets from the team room’ to their thousands of followers.

Whatever the ban entails, it indicates that there is a general unease surrounding figures in the public eye making their often offensive musings available to all. Sportsmen are on the whole widely respected and considered to be role models (with a few obvious exceptions – no names no Wayne Rooney!).   They attract major sponsorship deals and are expected to maintain a squeaky clean image in order to preserve this aura of infallibility. It is telling then about power and reach of social networking that one wayward tweet can permanently undermine this image and vilify a once angelic figure in an instant.

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