Since Twitter became popular we have seen players around the world jumping on the SM bandwagon, with differing levels of success, failure, catastrophe, grammar, boredom, humour and sheer stupidity.
Rio Ferdinand was one of the first and is one of the most prolific, although often rather boring, Wayne Rooney joined in April 2011, picking up 170,000 followers in a day and showed that he has a reading age of 5, but interestingly did choose to use it to confirm his £30k hair transplant, getting in there before the English press. The ever controversial Joey Barton is my new fave as he comments on everything from his team mates clothes, to politics, to haters, to X Factor and every time as if he has swallowed the beginners guide to philosophy, I have gone from thinking he is a thug to finding him strangely endearing. Twitter has given fans a chance to get a little closer to their heros, although most managers are not fans and some have banned the social network believing it is more trouble than it is worth.
So it is interesting to see clubs finding that Twitter can be to their advantage, from the start of the Primera Liga in Spain, Valencia has been using its twitter address on their shirt instead of a sponsor, driving awareness on a World stage everytime they take to the field.
In Mexico Jaguares have taken to having players Twitter names on their shirts instead of their usual surname, alongside the Twitter address of their sponsor Sol beer.
Football clubs have been a little slow on the Twitter uptake so far but this could be a great way to speak directly with their fans and attract new fans. I would be interested to see if the club has set out Twitter guidelines on what the player can and can not say. In contracts will their be a minimum number of tweets the player must send per day? Guidelines on areas to avoid? Will they be asked to use them as sales tools to drive ticket or shirt sales? Any PR agency managing the Twitter account of a brand will set out clear guidelines on what can be said and the tone of voice but a footballer is a far more difficult animal to control though.