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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Sep. 5, 2017 2 months ago

Column: How Twitter is a uniting force for prep sports

The social engagement between fans, players and media on Twitter helps present an opportunity to go behind the scenes.
by: Tim Briggs Staff Writer

I’ve come to learn that Twitter is a very powerful platform.

It’s an app I personally check hundreds of times per day. I scroll through thousands of accounts as a method of garnering information for my job, and when following high school kids, you see some interesting things.

It’s a unique space, because with less than 140 characters, a Tweet can be made in a few seconds, but you can’t edit them, so you better know what you want to say and what message you’re getting across. 

For high school football players, Twitter is used for many things, whether it’s trash talking, trying to get your name out to scouts, or sharing clips of touchdowns during last week’s game. It’s the ultimate tool for expressing yourself in a succinct and concise way, and prep football players are as effective with it as anyone.

Players typically will announce their recruitments on Twitter as well as share their highlight videos in pinned Tweets on their profiles. This means that whenever anyone clicks on Brian Jenkins’ Twitter, for example, they can see his highlight video from Jan. 11 as the very first piece of information.

Mainland’s wide receivers all have a good rapport on Twitter. Brian Jenkins (@begreatbando2), D’Marcus Adams (@D3era) and Tank Dell (@T6era1) will routinely share photos of themselves from games and practices in order to get attention to their profiles. In fact, I deliberately tag student-athletes in posts in order for them to see it, because typically, they will retweet or like it, which is nice for both of us.

To see a football player leaving the field and instantly going to his phone to check Twitter isn’t a rarity. When a player gets mentioned by a member of the media or a fan in the stands, they retweet it to help boost their stock as a prospect or to help motivate themselves for future games.

In addition, there’s the element of trash talk and calling each other out. Former Mainland quarterback Denzel Houston made a comment on Monday night after Mainland’s loss to Bartram Trail about how all Mainland’s players are more interested in their stats than winning.

Current wide receiver Jenkins replied to Houston with one phrase — “Not all players.”

Twitter allows fans, reporters and athletes alike to interact with one another and share information that those outside of the realm wouldn’t otherwise know.

So if you’re looking to engage more with athletes, just tag them in a Tweet and say how great they are. They’ll probably retweet it, and why wouldn’t they? 

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