Fast feet, fast tweets
Emporia State hurdler Etheridge makes quick use of Twitter
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Emporia State University hurdler Andrew Etheridge tweeted not once during a nearly five-minute interview for this story.
Evidently, that’s saying something.
Since joining Twitter on April 30, 2011, with the username @HuRdLe_HeAd_DrO, Etheridge has posted 27,431 times.
Make that 27,432 times. 27,433 … 27,434 … 27,435 …
OK, so maybe it’s not quite that often, but the young man does use Twitter a lot. Do the numbers, and it comes out to an average of 40 tweets or so a day. Scroll through his Twitter feed, and it’s clearly evident that the math is not far off.
“I think it’s a good way to meet other people, especially athletes,” Etheridge said. “I just kind of tweet whatever, whatever’s on my mind. I try to keep it clean, but whatever I’m doing, whatever I’m feeling, whatever I’m thinking, I just put on there. I’m not really too protective of it.”
Often, Etheridge will tweet results of meets before they’re actually posted on live-stat feeds. He’s turned into a go-to guy for information, said Emporia State head track coach Steve Blocker.
“He has kind of a quiet demeanor, but he’s an outgoing guy,” Blocker explained. “He’s got relationships with people. He’s a very good teammate, and so it’s kind of gotten to the point where we’ll even ask him, ‘Hey, do you have an update?’ And he’ll know the answer. I just think he likes to connect with people.”
Etheridge tried Facebook, but soon turned his attention to Twitter for its quick and easy updating. After all, it’s just 140 characters, and boom, you’re done until the next time.
At the moment, Etheridge has 1,333 followers on Twitter. He knows many of them from around campus, and some are family. Everybody’s in the loop, and he says there’s no such thing as putting too much out there.
“If it becomes a distraction, then obviously, that’s not good,” Etheridge said. “On race day, it’s totally different. I might tweet once or twice before leaving the hotel, but I shut off my phone before I get to the stadium complex. There’s actually quite a few people who tweet a lot more than me.”
A few months ago, however, Etheridge did send out a tweet that caused a little bit of a stir. Frustrated with the way his season had been going, Etheridge tweeted that he might consider transferring to another school.
It got back to the head coach, but after the smoke cleared, there’d been no real harm done.
“It’s almost like someone would use a journal entry,” Blocker said of Etheridge Twitter habit. “It’s private thoughts, but they make it public when they do that. I don’t think he had any malicious intention or anything like that. I think he was kind of venting, more or less. We discussed it, and everything was fine.”
The whole thing turned into something of a learning experience for the junior.
“It wasn’t that it was hard, but like I said, I just kind of tweet whatever’s on my mind,” Etheridge added. “It definitely opened up my eyes a lot. Some stuff, you should keep to yourself. I was just upset about my outdoor season, and I was looking for somewhere to point fingers. It was really no one’s fault but my own. I just had to realize that.”
No harm, no foul. In 2011Floee, Etheridge was the national outdoor champion in the 110-meter hurdles. This time around, he’ll be competing in at least the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries.
And if he makes it to the podium again, will he be tweeting? Probably so. Don’t bet against it.
“I might just take a picture of all the crowd,” he concluded with a grin.