Howard Stern’s 1997 hit film “Private Parts,” still well worth a view, included data from a study of his listeners, which revealed that those who hated him most and loved him most gave the same top reason for tuning in: They wanted to hear what he had to say next.
In that regard, don’t look for Tom Brady’s plunge into the sometimes polluted waters of Twitter to result in him passing recently (and temporarily?) retired teammate Rob Gronkowski in followers.
Brady nurtures his image and that of the TB12 brand too carefully to risk anything by tweeting in a way that leaves his audience dying to hear what he has to say next. As unofficial greatest quarterback of all-time titleholder, he treats the responsibility that comes with that as if he worked in an oval office. Then again, maybe that’s not quite the right way to put it.
Anyway, Brady’s first tweet (“I’m retiring. In my spare time I’ll be tweeting) triggered 202,000 likes, 50,000 retweets and 8,200 comments. Nobody really fell for it, did they? Two days later, Brady retweeted former teammate Aqib Talib’s photo of himself throwing out the first pitch at a Rays game under the heading, “When I see all these baseball contracts”.
Brady already has 355,000 followers, compared to 3 million for Gronk, whose audience, shockingly, knows how to have fun online.
Under a photo of Gronk singing with his two brothers at a Boston Children’s Hospital charity event, Gronk asked for suggested band names, always a fun topic because it’s so much more difficult than it sounds to come up with a decent one. A few Gronk followers were up to the challenge: @therealbenpeck weighed in with “3 Gronk Night”; @georgeharris suggested “Gronkholes”; @PatsATweetin offered, “One More Season”; and @mason_routhier8 took the prize with “Gronk and the Owskis”.
Twitter also is where you can get a glimpse into the upbeat personality of welcoming, down-to-earth Patriots running back James White (@SweetFeet_White). Sweet Feet’s fascination with Orange Vanilla Coke, leading up to and after his first can, is, well, strangely fascinating, and not nearly as predictable as his obsession with all things Wisconsin football. White shares that although he doesn’t really think that Orange Vanilla Coke tastes like a creamsicle, he does find it pretty tasty.
For the long and short of Bruins social media, it pays to follow veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara (@zeechara33) and his little buddy, Brad Marchand (@BMarch63).
Chara used Instagram to pay tribute to Marchand after he became the first Bruin in 16 years to log a 100-point season. The photo of Chara and Marchand posted by Chara at last check received 26,694 likes.
At the end of a whirlwind week that included him celebrating his 42nd birthday, receiving a contract for next season, scoring his 200th goal and the Bruins clinching a playoff spot, Chara took to Instagram with an emotional tribute to his tough-love father. The son thanked the father for never taking it easy on him and said, “I hated it then, but I am grateful for it.” He posted a photo holding his 200th-goal puck and wrote: “This is for you Dad. Love you. PS: Thanks for all the kicks in my ass! #dad #toughlove #200.”
Athletes are on the receiving end of so many below-the-belt shots that for the most part they don’t deliver them. They chlorinate the Twitter pool far more than they pollute it.
Chara is the best at using Instagram of the Boston athletes on social media, but my vote for the most entertaining of all sports-related social media content is delivered by @Super70sSports. It’s heavy with cringe-worthy nods to the horrific fashions of the 1970s, from basketball players in short shorts and long mullets to athletes as actors wearing turtle necks and bell-bottom pants to Pete Rose being Pete Rose.
It often is said that fashion goes in cycles, always comes back around, but thanks to @Super70sSports, ’70s fashion never will return.