Blog 77, 11/17/10 - Are You Following Tiger?

Are You Following TW?

Welcome to Twitter Twi...Tiger.
If you use Twitter to tell the world what you're eating, drinking, watching and thinking then you're probably aware that Tiger Woods joined the party today, offering the world his first two stand-alone tweets. Well, there's no guarantee it definitely was him that posted them, but for now let's just assume he did.
Woods's Twitter account has existed since the last week of June when he welcomed fellow tweeters to his new page. Later the same day (probably a few seconds afterward, actually), he exhorted his followers to visit his new Facebook page, and shortly after that, came instructions to check out his newly-designed web site. In September, he answered fans' questions during a half-hour-long 'Twitterview' on Nike Golf's page.
It's not known (at least I don't know) how many people were online for that or how many followers Woods picked up after those three initial tweets - which he almost certainly didn't write.

After beginning his solo Twitter career at about 11 o'clock (ET) Wednesday morning, however, the number of people following him started rising dramatically. When BellinghamGolfer logged on at about 8.30am (PT), he had 97,280 followers. Out of curiosity, I refreshed the page every three seconds or so and discovered he was gaining followers at the rate of about 40 a second. A minute into this essential research, Woods lost 35 followers (they either remembered some of the more salatious stuff they had read about him on TMZ or, more likely, my computer was acting up), but by the time I left to take the kids to school, he was on 97,647. I checked in at about 3 o'clock this afternoon and saw there were now 122,350 people keeping tabs on him. At this precise moment, he has 180,401 checking in. Keep this momentum up and he'll soon pass fellow PGA Tour Twitter-users Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy (well, not a fellow PGA Tour Twitter-user now, of course), Ian Poulter and Stewart Cink.

Mind you, he'll have to give us (yes, BellinghamGolfer is one of the 180,401) a lot more than he did this morning. His first tweet said, simply; 'What's up everyone. Finally decided to try out Twitter!' The fact the first sentence was missing a question mark, and the second ended with an exclamation mark that was a bit unnecessary, didn't matter. What did was that he was coming to meet his fans electronic-device-to-electronic-device apparently without an IMG or Nike lawyer looking over his shoulder.

Tiger fans around the world hoped for, indeed anticipated, a slurry of messages showing a more intimate side than he had ever shown before. Perhaps he was working out, hitting balls or watching Caddyshack, a South Park rerun, or the official DVD of his last major victory (2008 US Open, remember?) Instead he was silent for three hours then, obviously after becoming aware of speculaion over whether it was really him or not, he responded saying; 'Yep, it's me. I think I like this Twitter thing. You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the love.'

This second tweet was better-punctuated certainly, and the love he mentioned might almost have been mutual. But that was the last we heard from him, and for the move to be taken seriously, he'll probably need to start following more than seven accounts (Stanford Athletics, Nike, his Foundation, EA Sports, Notah Begay etc).

There's no guarantee we'll get any more morsels before the Chevron World Challenge (Nov 29th - Dec 5th), but a few at least are likely given Team Woods's obvious attempts to improve their man's public image with the anniversary of his failed escape from his irate former wife just a few days away. First there was this in Newsweek, then the tweets came, and on Thursday morning he'll appear on 'Mike and Mike in the Morning' on ESPN Radio (actually, in about two hour's time).

As the Wall St Journal's John Paul Newport noted this morning, Woods is currently on a 'charm offensive'. What isn't clear yet is if it's all happening to edify the man himself, or if it's simply a cynical ruse to win back lost sponsors...or both.

On to more far important matters like results from Saturday's Winter Golf Tour Bonus Skins Game at Lake Padden. The first counting event is this coming Saturday. Also, the pro shop is reporting that all shoes are now $59,95. Yes, ALL shoes.

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