So the big news in basketball is that LeBron James recently unfollowed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Twitter. His own team. Reminded me of a piece I did three years ago on Twitter Etiquette after tennis player Sloane Stephens said, when discussing Serena Williams in an interview: "She went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter! People think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter!"
And a bit after that came this news report: Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers signed with the Houston Rockets on Friday. [Laker star] Kobe Bryant unfollowed Howard on Twitter shortly thereafter.
What gives? I asked. Twitter didn't even exist eight years ago. This blog has been around longer than Twitter! And yet the Twitter "unfollow" has become the ultimate means by which to dis someone? ("Dis" means disrespect. The word "dis" has been around almost 5 times as long as Twitter.)
In the 19th century, men were men. If someone disrespected you, you challenged him to a duel. You ended his life. Now you unfollow him on Twitter. Yeah, that'll show him. I can imagine LeBron lying in bed in his mansion at night, thinking, That bastard Kevin Love. I gotta think of some way to put him in his place. I know! I'll unfollow him on Twitter. Mwah ha ha!
Of course unfollowing one of your competitors is one thing. Unfollowing your own team is another.
Or is it? The way I see it, if you're a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and you need to follow them on Twitter to know what's happening with the team, maybe you should quit sleeping through team meetings.
I went to @Cavs, the team's Twitter account. It's got tweets like Congratulations to LeBron James, named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the 53rd time. And Tipoff time for tonight's game with Orlando is 8:00. You think LeBron needs to follow the Cavs on Twitter to find out he won yet another award or what time the game starts? You think he even gives a freaking flock that he won this award a 53rd time? Maybe he cared the first couple times, but by the time it got to number 40, he was like Yeah, toss it in the bin over there with the other ones.
You think he depends on Twitter to know when the games start? He doesn't. Although I think it would be cool if he showed up late for the next game and his excuse was that he didn't get the tweet because he doesn't follow the Cavs.
The big question isn't Why did LeBron unfollow the Cavs? It's why did he follow them in the first place?