I joined Twitter for the interactions. I liked the idea of relating to many different people on a one-on-one basis quickly, and yet at my own pace. I can respond in the moment, or not if something more important comes up. That's neat, so different from when someone asks you a question face-to-face and you have to answer right now. Twitter kind of gives you a bit of a buffer.
That's important to me because I do a lot of my tweeting in the near-buff, from our training room cold tub. I was just sitting in there one day bored when I decided to do it. One of my teammates, defensive tackle Sione Pouha, was in there too. I thought it would be neat since he was on Twitter too to do a quick little contest to see if they could guess who's in the cold tub with me. We ended up giving away a signed hat to a guy who guessed right. From there, it kinda became a thing. I'm sitting there with nobody to talk to, so I might as well host a quick Q&A. It helps me lose track of time. Usually I try to do 15-minute spurts in the tub. When you're sitting there firing back tweets at people, that 15 minutes goes by pretty quickly.
I think the exchanges open my life up more to people. When you do interviews with the standard media, the focus is mainly on football. But on Twitter, there's an opportunity for people to really get to know me. A couple of months ago somebody asked me what band I liked better -- the Foo Fighters or Nirvana? That would never come up in a standard interview, but I was able to answer it thanks to the power of Twitter.
Players like me tend not to put themselves out there like this. It's a little out of the box for offensive linemen. Usually, we try to stay quiet. But a lot of things I do are just fun for me. I'm not trying to promote my name or anything else. Tweeting is just a fun activity that keeps me entertained. It's also something that can get me into trouble if I'm not careful. The possibility of an innocuous statement turning into headline news is always in the back of my mind. Since it's so instantaneous, anything that you put out there might be taken in a way that you didn't intend. Before I hit the send button, I ask myself a few questions: Who am I sending this to? How do I look? If they put this on
I only wish everybody would exercise the same precautions before sharing their thoughts. Because of the anonymousness of Twitter� and the internet,� people are more inclined to say things they otherwise wouldn't. That's difficult. I have to have pretty thick skin, especially when it comes to things people say about family members
But I've developed strategies for dealing with the negativity. A lot of times I'll just ignore it. If it's something that seems absurd, I might block that person. If it it's something where they're wrong, I'll call them out on it. I feel like I have to vary my approaches. If you ignore it all, it's just going to build up too much and at some point it's going to explode. But at the same time I don't want to give it a platform. It's all about walking that thin line in between. Still, at least now there's a real bridge between the fans and me� and it's always open.