“WELCOME to the Twittersphere mate!”
And with those five words my good friend Brian Halford, esteemed cricket writer of the Birmingham Mail, brought home to me the sheer severity of what took place shortly before play on the opening day of the cricket season on Thursday.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, folks, I joined the social networking site Twitter.
Well, I did not so much join it as was press-ganged into taking part by my employers, who threatened to send me to cover the Indian Premier League if I continued to resist the stiff winds of change.
It was a bit of a blighter, really, as I had purposefully been avoiding Twitter like the plague.
In fact, given a choice between contracting the plague and joining Twitter, I would have had to give the matter some serious thought before reluctantly deciding that I would have to give old Twitter a miss.
However, there is only so much resisting a man can do – particularly when the threat of IPL is looming.
So I activated the account @CWatersYPSport and prepared to embrace a world far removed from that inhabited by a fellow named JM Kilburn. My, how times change.
“I am here to write about the cricket,” bristled Kilburn to his Yorkshire Post employers when they had the temerity to ask him to write a cricket news story in addition to his staple diet of a cricket match report.
Nowadays, any cricket writer declining to write a news story would be out on his ear faster than you could say “Lord Hawke”.
And JMK on Twitter?
Put it this way, it would be easier to imagine Lord Hawke singing Adele on The X Factor, or Wilfred Rhodes extolling the merits of a foot spa.
What would JMK have tweeted, I wonder?
“Verity bowling well at the moment. England selectors take note! #hedleyforengland” . . . or perhaps “Herbert Sutcliffe has just gone to his half-century with a single to fine-leg off Larwood #sutcliffeonfire”.
Of course, as readers of these ramblings will know, I have lampooned Twitter for several years.
As such, I felt a little explanation was required so as not to incur the hash tag of #hypocrite.
The world of cricket writing has changed beyond all recognition since the ink was flowing from Kilburn’s fountain pen.
And if you can’t stand the tweet, I suppose you should probably get out of the kitchen/press box.
Of course, Twitter has its uses – in the writing game, for example, it is a useful tool for engaging with readers.
It allows information to be instantly transferred and for journalists to publicise the stories they write.
However, if Twitter falls into the wrong hands (not that a journalist’s hands are the right ones) it can cause problems, with professional sport a case in point.
Indeed, one could tweet one’s fingers red raw recounting the various troubles that participants of all sports have got themselves into by an injudicious comment here or a thoughtless remark there.
Why, even at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, the very last place where you would expect to find anyone putting their foot in it, a couple of players have fallen foul of Twitter in recent years.
Azeem Rafiq famously got himself into hot water, while Yorkshire – along with many professional sports organisations – now lay down ground rules to anyone minded to make use of the medium.
Unfortunately, it is difficult – nay impossible – to stop difficulties arising.
In any walk of life, people can easily forget that what is posted on Twitter is instantly available all over the world.
For sportsmen, this can be a hazardous business unless they are careful.
Anyway, that is quite enough of this nonsense. I cannot sit around writing this column all day.
I need to get back to my Twitter account.
So, if you’ll excuse me, dear reader, #imgoingtoshutupnow.