There have been a few incidents lately when a few of my fellow pros have found themselves in hot water for saying something they perhaps shouldn’t have. But this is the day and age we live in, with social networking websites giving players a voice they previously never had, as well as giving fans unprecedented access to them.
I’m a fan of sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and I believe they can play an important role in the life of a modern-day snooker player – as long as they’re used properly. I use Twitter regularly, I enjoy it because it’s a way to express yourself, and it’s great for fans because they can contact you, ask you questions, follow what you’re up to. It’s a lot of fun.
Mark Williams, who’s a good friend of mine, has been fined by the WPBSA recently for comments he made, on Twitter, about the Crucible. Mark is entitled to his opinion and what he said was not out of order, but it was the way he put it. It was meant as tongue-in-cheek, but sometimes sarcasm like that can be lost in translation. I think he was harshly punished, but that’s by the by now.
It’s easy to say something controversial, but you have to be aware that you can find yourself in trouble for it. It’s not Twitter’s fault when people find themselves being punished for what they said, which is the view some take. It’s rather that people have to use their discretion, use their brains, when they’re expressing their views.
Should World Snooker give players guidelines on how to use social networking sites? I don’t think so, players should be savvy enough themselves to know what they can and can’t say. I know some who won’t use Twitter because they know it’s not for them, that they could end up saying something they’d regret, or that they value their privacy too much. It’s a case of each to their own, and that’s fair enough.
I always feel like I’m in control of what I say on Twitter (as @hitmanholt). I’ve never been in trouble and I know how to put my opinions across in a diplomatic way. I can vet myself so I wouldn’t like someone telling me what I can and can’t say, it would end up a bit like Big Brother, wouldn’t it. Where do you draw the line?
I find it flattering that people are interested enough in what I say to follow me, and almost everyone is supportive and friendly. You get a few bad eggs and some abuse directed towards you on the odd occasion, and that’s the one thing about Twitter I don’t like, that it can be anonymous. But that’s the nature of the beast.
I’ve been practising hard these past few weeks, getting ready for the new season which, for me, starts on Friday with qualifying for the Wuxi Classic. After the time off I’ve had, it’s hard to get yourself back into the swing of things mentally, so it will be interesting to see where I’m at.
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