Interacting with Fans on Social Media
Right around this time every year is when I start going crazy. As an athlete, sports is my main outlet to relieve pressure. Working out in the offseason is hard, enjoying summer is cool, but I really miss the struggles I go through during season. I miss waking up sore and tired from 2-a-days. I miss warming up and getting ready to play games. I miss hearing the chants of the crowds after a made 3-pointer. I miss all the sweet and bitter moments that I go through during the season. It has been over 3 months since the last game I played in, and I cannot wait for the season to start already… a couple more weeks and all the pieces will start falling in place. Therefore, I need to keep myself occupied with something and find topics to write about in my blog. Within this post, I will address the way I interact with fans across social media across all platforms. I do not use Twitter, I do not have Snapchat (I used to back in my college days). But I do have Facebook and Instagram which I use on a daily basis. I use both platforms in order to promote my blog and provide insight to people about struggles I go through as a professional athlete.
I try to keep my Facebook account as private as possible. Many times have I thought about deleting my account but I fail to do so because it is the only way to keep in touch with some of my friends in USA. Phone numbers are changed and sometimes lost but Facebook is a fail-proof method for me to interact with my friends. It is also a way to stay up to date about events. In Lebanon, Facebook groups sometimes are the first to release news and gossips about new signings or rumors about teams. It helps to stay informed about what is going on in the world of basketball. A couple years ago, I was accepting almost all the friend requests that I received. I do have many friends that I have never met, never talked to or wouldn’t even recognize. But recently, I only accept requests of people whom I have met and interacted with. I currently have 998 friend requests and I do appreciate all the fans who would like to be my friend but I just wouldn’t have the time or effort to interact with all. I also feel like accepting one and not others would offend some people (how come he is friends with X but not with me or Y). Hence, I apologize for not accepting your request.
I am more active on Instagram than on Facebook. I average about a post a week, sometimes more sometimes less. I post my workouts or things I do every day or two on my story. I check stories of people I follow and go through my feed multiple times a day. I follow 918 people as of this moment, most of whom I know, some friends, some colleagues and some celebrities. I have over 12k followers because I am a professional basketball player, and I thank each and every one for following me. My account is public and not private. I do have to apologize from many people to whom I have not responded. I do read almost all the messages and message requests I receive. Some are thankful and some are straight up vulgar. Some praise my game and some use explicit comments about me or my family all because I didn’t sign for the team they support. If anyone sends me a profane message I directly block them. When I signed with Al-Riyadi, I received countless messages congratulating me from their fans. I responded to all with a simple thank you. But I personally cannot keep responding to all your messages. That does not mean I do not appreciate them, or I do not want to interact with them... but it would just be impossible to answer them all, therefore I will most probably answer none. I appreciate all the ‘good game’ messages I will probably get during the season and it feels nice to have your support. But just because I do not respond doesn’t mean I do not care at all. However, I will respond if there is anything important you would like to ask me and will try to be more active with my account. So feel free to contact me.
The one thing I find a direct invasion of privacy is when some fans acquire my phone number and add me to random WhatsApp groups. I only give my phone number out to people I know and use it solely for personal matter. I will never answer to a message I receive from anyone on WhatsApp to whom I have personally not given my number to. Anyone messaging me will directly be blocked (I have 56 blocked numbers in my list currently and hopefully it will remain that way).
I am who I am and this is the basis of how I feel comfortable with interacting on social media and I cannot see me changing in the near future.