With Stevie Johnson, Twitter displays power to convey pure emotion

If you're like me, you have at least one Facebook friend who's about to break up with their significant other, is in the process of doing so, or reeling from a recent breakup. You know this because they post about it constantly—could be awful Snow Patrol lyrics or passive aggressive quips better sent to the person they're meant for than hundreds of friends acquaintances who could probably care less. In today's age, when some individuals need someone to talk to, but can't figure out who, they turn to everyone instead. Shouting into a crowd of people who will hear, but not listen, is better than not telling anyone at all.

Such is the case for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who turned to Twitter after dropping a would-be game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While melodramatic Facebook status updates from acquaintances are obnoxious and a bit annoying, Johnson's shout at the sky through Twitter brings out genuine compassion.

The tweet:


Yes, I see the irony in feeling less for people I once knew going through real trauma than someone I don't know dropping a sack of leather filled with air but, as a sports fan, it's unique to witness such unfiltered emotion from the athletes we follow. These guys aren't supposed to be like us. They're physical specimens, admired by tens of thousands and likely own as many cars now as I will in my lifetime. So when they do act like us, and we see it, it resonates.

Dan Shanoff has some excellent comments on the subject:

Johnson did not post to Twitter actually thinking it was a line to God; he posted to Twitter because it was the most public way he knew to express the overwhelming emotions he felt following the game. He could share with everyone how he was feeling -- how conflicted he felt, not just about his actions, but about his faith. I don't see him as "blaming" God for the missed catch, as some have said. I see it as much bigger: Johnson questioning, if not even within the brevity of 140 characters, his own faith. That's some heady stuff.
In its own way, it is one of the most profound statements ever uttered by an athlete.
This, exactly, is why you let athletes be themselves on Twitter. We see their greatness through so many other channels. Hell, we can even sense Johnson's frustration, his total disappointment, on television but the look of disbelief he gives behind the helmet is nothing compared to the comments he put on Twitter after the game.

This is why social media is powerful, especially for athletes. Fans don't want more of what they already see. We want more. We want honesty and pure transparency. Stevie Johnson gave us just that.

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