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Tweets can be helpful if used in right way

Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010

What the heck is Twitter?


How do you Twitter? Is a Twitter post called a twit, tweet or a twitter?

The social networking medium is being utilized as a news tool by more and more News-Times staff as the new year is under way. Confusion at the start is expected.

No one is quite sure what to make of their account once it's started.

The Twitter push in our newsroom, and subsequent confusion by some, reminded me of the various professional athletes who have Twitter accounts. Some use it well, and some just don't get it.

The most recent incident of a pro athlete and Twitter in the news happened after Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas admitted to bringing a gun into the team's locker room. Initial reports said Arenas and another teammate, in an argument over a gambling debt, drew guns on each other.

Arenas used his Twitter account to rail against the media reports, though he admitted having the gun in his locker.

The 28-year-old hasn't "tweeted" since being suspended from the league indefinitely on Wednesday, his birthday.

Miami Heat forward Michael Beasley closed his account last year after backlash from a photo he posted of a tattoo on his back. The problem wasn't the tattoo, it was the plastic baggies visible on a table in the background. The contents of the clear baggies were uncertain, but Beasley later checked into a Houston rehabilitation hospital.

Chad Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals receiver, used his account to compare Michael Jackson's death to 9/11. The NFL balked at Johnson's threats to Twitter during games.

Some athletes have made good use of Twitter. NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal uses his account to dispense inspirational messages. He has scheduled meet-ups with fans to give away game tickets.

PGA Tour golfer Stewart Cink, an Atlanta-area native, regularly updates his account.

After winning the 2009 British Open, he posted pictures of the Claret Jug.

In the newsroom, we'll stick to the news. Follow us for links to breaking news and thoughts on area events and trends.

We'll try to keep our tweets about the news, and not in it.

Free free-throw contest

The Knights of Columbus will play host to a free-throw competition Saturday at Patriots Park gym. The event, which will be held from 2-4 p.m., is free to the public and open to boys and girls ages 10-14. Prizes will be awarded and winners will advance to a district-level competition, which will be held at the same location in February. For information, call Bob Oellerich at (706) 868-8344 or e-mail


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