Twitter twits in the spotlight

This past Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis found out the extent of Twitter’s power and reach.

In response to a series of Tweets by NFL running back Reggie Bush regarding the NFL’s ongoing labour woes, Ellis decided to use this as a platform to launch into a tirade on his personal financial situation.

The following is what Ellis posted on his Twitter account:

If you lost 18% of your income (the amount the NHL collects through escrow) would you be happy? I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now then when I was in college.

I can’t explain it and I never thought it would be the case but it is true. $ in no way makes u more happy or makes life much easier.

If you don’t make a lot of money I don’t expect u to understand in the same way I could never understand what it is like to risk my life

Daily as a fire fighter or police officer…especially not a soldier. There r pros and cons to every profession. U r kidding yourself.

If you think money makes things any easier.

As you can imagine, a good portion of Ellis’ 12, 302 followers couldn’t relate to his fiscal inadequacies, spurring an angry, yet highly laughable war of words.

The next day, Ellis responded with this:

I apologize to anyone that I may have offended, I drastically underestimated the power of twitter!

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has forcefully wedged itself into the cyber spotlight and has dragged an array of social-media savvy athletes along with it—whether they like it or not.

Some athletes are mild mannered and merely use the microblogging tool to keep connected with fans and fellow athletes, while others seem to use it as their own personal diary—except they must have forgot it’s not private.

Take Shaquille O’Neal for example. The giant-sized centre for the Boston Celtics currently has over three million followers (those who subscribe to his Twitter page) hanging on his every word.

Just one little slip, or a sentence taken out of context can bring a lot of unwanted heat and criticism.

Another multi-million dollar superstar who found himself in Twitter trouble of late is Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.

Just over a week ago, Anthony allegedly posted the following Tweet:

I got 5k for whoever see @ihatekatstacks and slap the s— out her pigeon face a–. Real talk. U f—— with the right one now.

The woman he supposedly put the bounty on is infamous hip-hop groupie Kat Stacks who is known for her sexually charged blogs about her encounters with various celebrities and athletes.

Anthony later posted that his Twitter page was hacked and that he wasn’t responsible for the vulgar and violent message.

Fortunately there are good apples as well.

NHL players such as Rob Schremp of the New York Islanders and Mike Komisarek of the Toronto Maple Leafs use the social media hub to promote various charities and events.

Another popular character is Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes, or ‘biznasty’ as he is known online. He routinely gives fans a candid look at his life, including humorous pictures of him in a Speedo and his various methods of helping the homeless, while also interacting with fans on a daily basis.

Although athletes are used to the heat of the spotlight, Twitter has stripped away the safety nets and filters they have grown accustomed to, exposing these people as, well … people.