Wilson’s Wisdom: Why do players bother with Twitter?

Yaya Toure was the subject of racist abuse on Twitter
Yaya Toure was the subject of racist abuse on Twitter
Gary Roberts scores against Plymouth at Fratton Park back in April Picture: Joe Pepler

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Wilson’s Wisdom is the weekly Sports Mail column written by sports reporter Steve Wilson...

Social media and Twitter, in particular, is a great tool for communication.

I must admit, I was a bit sceptical when we were encouraged to incorporate it into our working practices.

My initial concern was that it was just another platform where everyone told you what they’d had for dinner.

Frankly, I don’t really care about what is on anyone else’s plate and I’m pretty sure nobody cares what’s on mine.

But it was suggested it allowed us an instant method to break stories and allowed us to pass on snippets of information others may find useful.

It also increases interactivity with our readers.

My initial fears were unfounded and its benefits are obvious to those of us who don’t get abused.

The worst I’ve had was people telling me they didn’t like something I’d written. And I’ve got no problem with that at all.

I’m perfectly happy to explain why I may have been critical of others, so I am also prepared to take it coming back the other way if someone feels the need.

Yes, you get the occasional grumpy so-and-so who might not get my sarcastic humour.

And I think I’ve had a couple of taunts from Southampton fans just because I report on what happens at Pompey, which seemed a bit silly.

Anyway, that’s nothing compared with what some have had to put up with.

Yaya Toure is the latest in an increasingly growing number of sports stars to be racially abused by knuckle-dragging numbskulls from a laptop or a smart phone.

Mario Balotelli and Stan Collymore are among the many who receive vile hatred based on the colour of their skin, while Fabrice Muamba got the same while he was fighting for his life in hospital after collapsing on the pitch.

There are some nasty pieces of work out there.

Perhaps they don’t understand a real person is on the other end of that message and there is little doubt those brave souls would be unlikely to say some of those things face to face.

But football fans can often sink into the pack mentality in a crowd and will chant or scream some downright disgusting stuff.

These players talking directly to people who want to listen should be encouraged, especially when they can voice actual opinions, rather than rattle off a series of tired clichés.

These days, journalists don’t always get to speak to the players we want to after a game.

We are often told who is available for press duties and we have to put up with it.

That clearly has an impact on the connection between fans and players but when a youngster like Jed Wallace decides to leave Twitter because of the abuse – as he did last season for a while – there is something wrong.

There are so many continue to abuse the privilege of that direct contact, that it surely won’t be long before the majority of footballers decide it just isn’t worth the aggravation any more.