Kolupanowich: Twitter woes; how to lose respect and alienate followers

By: Tim Kolupanowich, Executive Editor

On April 23, Twitter user and grad student Laura Rubino (@LaurenAshley07) scoffed Florida Panthers President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark (@PanthersYormark) after his comment about New Jersey Devils fans throwing rats onto the ice at a Panthers playoff game in hope of creating a delay of game penalty against them. He responded by stating no one cares about her opinion because she only had 70 followers.

Check her profile now and you’ll notice she has a lot more than 70 followers. A tweet sent by Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) instructing others to give Rubino a follow and she now has over 1,400 followers. She was eventually given tickets to a suite for the game. You can read more about the incident on the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo! Sports.

An upper-level management position came across as juvenile due to a tweet he could, and should,  have just as easily ignored. He even argued there was no problem at all during the regular season, completely ignoring the fact the rats are a playoff tradition and Panthers fans had all but forgotten the playoffs existed in the past 12 years. Even Panthers fans think he was over the line. But he was, in a way, half right.

There are plenty of users out there in the Twitterverse , not to say all or even half, but a measureable amount, that resort to whining, cursing and trying to berate others as if saying screw you (I’m paraphrasing here) is an acceptable and conclusive way to get their point across. Even Yormark, an executive who should know how to act professional by now, can only resort to acting like a child.

The only reason to pay attention to them is to get a good laugh at just how sad some people really are, hiding anonymously behind a keyboard shouting (actually just typing in all uppercase letters) expletives, insults and, even worse, homophobic and racial slurs.

People need to stop taking these things so seriously. Surely I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s pathetic that people get so offended and upset in 140 characters or less.

These are people that don’t have enough faith in their own idea to make a reasoned argument. The only way for these people to feel good about themselves is to troll others and brag about petty victories that don’t matter. Now, this is not to say Vancouver Canucks fans are the only ones that do this, every fanbase has some of these idiots, but they have been especially prevalent on Twitter during and after their series with the Kings.

Can anybody possibly take them seriously long enough to truly care what they think?

I had originally planned to include some example tweets in here, but after searching there just aren’t many that are appropriate. Of course that doesn’t stop you from looking for yourself. Just check out @LOLVancouver where many of these geniuses have had their well thought out arguments retweeted. And by well thought out I mean piss-poor, sore-loser, your-average-middle-schooler-is-more-mature arguments.

There’s everything from name calling, to hoping the Kings die, to bragging about the Presidents’ Trophy even though will tell you playoff wins mean so much more. There’s a reason the most storied franchises in the history of the NHL are the ones with the most Stanley Cups and not the ones with the best regular season records and why no one makes a commercial for anything but the playoffs. Well, there’s this one.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with rooting for your favorite team and defending them, but you have to be realistic. There’s only one team each season whose fans get to brag. Last year it was Boston, the year before Chicago. I’m a Flyers fan. If I were to get angry every time someone made fun of Philly goaltending I’d have been put in an institution years ago.

Sadly, it gets worse. There are such cowards out there who do nothing but type brave (read: highly insulting) messages from behind a computer desk. They do it to top athletes, but would never have the gall to say it to their face. Theo Fleury (@theofleury14) is one of many who have to take this abuse from someone who is completely protected. The garbage that people come up with on Twitter, and during games as well where they are protected by glass and common decency (not to mention major fines) from the players, would end in an instant if they were placed on the same ice surface.

When you know there’s no repercussion or consequence coming, anything is easy. It is reassuring however to see just how few people are actually like this. For every jerk who writes something horrible, there’s always dozens rushing in to defend him. I recall earlier this month someone tweeted horrible things to Fleury about his past and while its good to see how many defended the star and attacked him right back. Of course not only were his retorts nothing but a few choice four-letter words, but his real name and picture were nowhere to be found on his profile.

There are other things no body cares about as well. There are always those pointless ‘I’m eating lunch now!’ tweets that are just completely useless. How anybody can be so egocentric to believe anyone is interested in the minor nuances of their daily lives is beyond me. It has nothing to do with the number of followers, just trivial, boring content. I just don’t care about, say, the gym schedule of a major executive.


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