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Pat Harty: A time and place for tweeting in college football

[ 0 ] August 4, 2012 |

Let me preface this by saying I’ve got nothing against Twitter.

Heck, I’ve even tweeted more than a thousand times, and that’s a thousand times more than I figured I would have five years ago.

Typing in 140 characters or less and then hitting the tweet button is something millions of people of all ages do on a regular basis every day.

For some people, a day without tweeting is a day without sunshine and purpose.

And it’s here to stay, as I was reminded recently by a fellow media scribe. In fact, our conversation is what triggered this column.

We both agreed that there is still a time and a place for tweeting.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz apparently feels the same way because he isn’t letting up on a Twitter ban for his players, even as the power and influence of social media closes in on him.

Most of the Iowa assistant coaches are now on Twitter, including Ferentz’s son, Brian, who uses his Twitter account as a recruiting tool and as a way to promote the daily activities within the program.

In that regard, Twitter is a useful mechanism because it allows Brian Ferentz to connect with fans and to monitor the recruiting landscape. Because let’s face it, many of today’s recruits are on Twitter, and that’s where they often reveal their feelings.

Twitter becomes dangerous, though, when the younger and more impressionable use it during emotional times in their lives. It’s incredibly easy to blow off steam or to rip somebody just by typing and hitting the tweet button.

It’s easy to picture an Iowa football player getting passed on the depth chart, then tweeting his frustration and later regretting it after hundreds of other people, including those in media, have re-tweeted it.

It’s also easy to picture an Iowa player revealing something on Twitter, whether it is strategy or a personnel matter that’s supposed to stay private.

Kirk Ferentz has removed that temptation by removing Twitter from the lives of his players once they arrive on campus.

Some of the Iowa players probably despise the Twitter ban because they enjoy the freedom of expression and the attention that comes with it. But it’s for their own good. It’s also one less distraction that the Iowa coaches have to worry about. They’re busy enough without having to track their players on Twitter.

Perhaps I’m naive, but it seems hard to believe that a recruit would use the ability to tweet as a factor in picking a school.

And if that were the case, I would question if the recruit had his priorities in order.

To play college football is to make sacrifices. Staying off Twitter is just one of the newer sacrifices.

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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