A few weeks ago, I sat down with the Texas Stars’ Mike Commodore when he was in Charlotte to face the Checkers. We talked about a wide variety of subjects, most of which I wrote about in this piece.
One of the parts of our chat that I’d planned to write about later was about social media, and more specifically, Twitter, and how Commodore uses it to stay informed and communicate with friends, fans, and fellow athletes.
After some particularly entertaining tweets last night during the first day of the NHL playoffs, I figure it’s the perfect opportunity to delve into Commodore’s feelings about Twitter.
Last night, Commodore tweeted a couple of #beauties about his feelings for Pierre McGuire, a media personality that he’s loved to chirp for many years.
That’s it. I want to watch, but I can’t take it any longer. Pierre McGuire ruins it for me. Too much useless info and ball sucking.
— Mike Commodore (@commie22) May 1, 2013
After he tweeted that, NHLers supported it. Mike Modano retweeted it. Many others commented and agreed, including guys like Theo Fleury.
Back in 2011, when he was playing for the Detroit Red Wings, Commodore had a lot of fun laughing about a sign he saw in the Joe Lewis Arena about McGuire. His feelings aren’t unlike the ones many, many die-hard hockey fans have towards McGuire, an NBC broadcaster, who tends to dumb down the sport in his commentary to frustratingly idiotic levels.
When Commodore and I chatted in April, he shared with me how he uses Twitter, and what he loves and hates about the social media platform. He began using the medium in 2009, and has become one of the most fun athletes to follow thanks to his candid commentary and lack of a filter.
“Honestly I started because I’d see on TV ‘So and so news reported by Twitter’ and I remember thinking what the hell is Twitter,” commented Commodore, about why he joined the craze in 2009, “So I went online, signed up for an account and just started playing around with it and it just went from there.”
Like many who have embraced the social media platform, Commodore is a regular user of Twitter.
“On my phone, other than my text messages and emails Twitter is the other thing I use the most. It’s how I get my news. I like it. There are downfalls like anything else, but I like it.”
What makes Commodore such an interesting “follow” is his lack of a filter when he Tweets. He tries to use common sense, but he also wants to come across as real and genuine, which is sometimes rare from celebrities and media-savvy personalities.
“I want to be me on Twitter, but at the same time I don’t want to be rude. There are some things I’d like to say, but I don’t. I think that goes for a lot of people,” Commodore continues, “I try and watch what I say as far as language a little bit, but at the same time, hey, language is language and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to follow.”
One of the most admirable qualities of Commodore is his no-regrets attitude. He’s honest and open about what he’s done in life, and even admits to a few slip-ups during the nearly-four years he’s been Tweeting.
“Every once in a while you have a few drinks in you, and I try and stay off of Twitter after a night out, that’s usually not good,” Commodore grins as he continues, as if remembering a few gems he shared after a night out, “but every once in a while I’ve had fun in it.”
So what about taboo subjects? Just this week, Commodore led his support to Jason Collins, the first active major-professional athlete to come out publically as being gay. But for the most part, he tries to avoid subjects that many find controversial, and have gotten others accounts taken away from them by agents who felt their use of the platform was getting out of hand. (Does anyone remember Paul Bissonette’s first Twitter account that his agent had him close after some pretty offensive statements and calling Ilya Kovalchuk a communist.)
“Politics I try and avoid, any kind of sexuality thing I try and avoid,” Commodore shares, “Race, I avoid at all costs. Stuff like that.”
With all of the positive that social media can bring, does Commodore have any Twitter regrets?
“I try and forget the bad stuff. There are a few things I put on there and I’m not really sure how it’s going to go over, and that’s kind of exciting actually. You know some people are going to take it bad, and some people are going to like it, but nothing crazy.”
Commodore also acknowledges that a lot of good and bad can come out of Twitter, especially if you get sucked into the trap of fans who set out to chirp him or other professional athletes.
“You can market yourself a little bit. I don’t know if brand is the right word. It doesn’t happen much in hockey. It’s not like basketball and some other sports.” Unlike sports such as basketball, the fancy shoe endorsement deals aren’t as prevalent in hockey, so Commodore continued, “Yeah, none of that goes on. So you can market yourself a little bit, especially if you are into charity things. It’s a good way to get the word out immediately.”
Commodore also acknowledged that he liked the interactive and insantaneous nature of Twitter, and being able to communicate with fans and other athletes.
“Obviously there’s another bad side of that too, if you say something stupid or something you shouldn’t, that is out immediately too. But it’s a good way to interact with fans, there are a lot of good people on Twitter. There are a lot of good questions on Twitter. There’s a lot of good comments on Twitter. There’s a lot of funny stuff on Twitter.”
Funny stuff like Commodore’s comments last night about Pierre McGuire. I was watching the same NHL game Commodore was when I read his Tweets, and cheered out loud (much to the surprise of my sleeping dog) because I was in agreement with his statements.
So what about the bad side to Twitter? When things can go awry? Commodore says it’s important to have a thick skin.
“There are a lot of total morons on Twitter. Complete idiots, that all they are looking for, I mean total losers, where they are just trying to say anything,” Commodore continued, relating his own personal experiences with the media, “I used to fall into the trap, when I was first into Twitter, and they would say something about me in the mentions thing, and I would read it, and before I got a thicker skin and really understood what was going on, I’d be pissed off and start firing back. There’s a lot of losers on Twitter, but overall, I think it’s good. If I wasn’t a fan of it, I’d delete my account.”
Near the end of my interview, I had to ask if Commodore thought he’d ever tweet something so outrageous that his agent would make him delete his account.
With a huge smile, Commodore replied.
“I don’t think my agent pays attention to me anymore so I can say whatever I want on there. So no, I don’t have to worry about that.”
Thank goodness for that. I’d miss Commodore’s humor and candid honesty if he was forced to retire from social media!