Over the past three or four years of Twitter's existence, many professional athletes have made the effort to welcome fans into their lives via the posting of tweets on a regular basis. This new technology not only allows fans to see how pro athletes spend their off days, but also gives these athletes an avenue to showcase his or her thoughts on other subjects outside of a given sport.
Many professional golfers utilize this new way to reach out to fans, including Open Champion Stewart Cink, LPGA sensations Christina Kim, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie, and even major golf distributors like Wilson, NIKE, and Cleveland Golf.
Unfortunately, whenever new technology offers the general public a chance to reach out to these superstars, the barrier of television and other media no longer exists and people start getting real. Comments from fans are shared on social media outlets (like Twitter) that may come across as "harsh" or "abrasive" to the professional subject... however how is this any different from what is sometimes said in living rooms and bars across the world?
I have had the opportunity to "converse" with many professional athletes via Twitter, and most of the time these conversations have been incredibly beneficial to both sides. However, in the rare occasion that an opinion is posted about an athlete that may be anything other than a positive comment, feelings are hurt and shared over the same media outlet.
Allow me to be very clear, Mr. and Mrs. Professional Athlete:
Your fans are behind you 100% regardless of what you do on television or what you write about on the Internet. However, as any journalist will tell you, for every supporter of your work there are 5 readers that cannot stand your writing or writing style. I've got them, major golf writers have them, and now professional athletes are learning that they too have them.
Sport fans want to "get real" with you, Mr. and Mrs. Professional Athlete. However, when you make the decision to open yourselves up to the rest of the world realize that the world will gladly return the favor one way or another.