Evan Mathis On Twitter: “I’m Just Trying To Interact And Entertain”

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For better or for worse, social media, particularly Twitter, has changed the way that sports news is reported, disseminated, and even created.

This weekend alone featured three major stories relating to sports figures and Twitter: Colts owner Jim Irsay’s Twitter feud with ESPN’s Adam Schefter;
Lions CB Aaron Barry’s confrontational tweets to fans after Detroit’s loss to New Orleans; and Dallas Mavericks’  Delonte West’s perplexing Twitter meltdown.

When used correctly, social media can be a tremendous asset for teams and players to express themselves and deepen loyalty from their fanbase. Unfortunately, cases of heartwarming Twitter sports tales don’t tend to make headlines.

Though many Eagles fans have taken it as an insult, the uproar that emerged from OG Evan Mathis’ tweet calling those who wanted Andy Reid ousted idiots shows something about Mathis that is very clear in reading his Twitter timeline: He enjoys interacting via social media, whether it be exchanging pleasantries or taking on angry fans.

Mathis’ approach to social media is unique among professional athletes. Philly Sports Muse spoke exclusively to Mathis about his use of Twitter, his fan engagement philosophy, his love of Words with Friends, and whether teams should limit the social media usage of their players.

Social media all-star Chad Ochocinco was your teammate for the two seasons you were in Cincinnati. Were you already interested in and actively using social media before arriving in Cincy in 2008, or did his prevalent use at all effect your Twitter presence? Did you get any tips from Chad about interacting with your fan base via Twitter?

EM: I actually didn’t join Twitter until I got to Cincy and I was only on it a short while.  I deleted my account towards the end of the 2009 season.  Chad is definitely a social media all-star and he was part of the reason that I got into it.  It wasn’t until this past April that I opened up a new Twitter account, this time for good.

You clearly enjoy engaging with fans via your Twitter account, and have recently invited them to play you on Words with Friends. Why is interacting with fans important to you? Or was the impetus really that you wanted to have more WWF games running at once?

EM: I know what it’s like to be a fan.  Most of us players are fans of the game and have been on the outside looking in before.  In this day and age, the use of social media has really allowed fan to player interaction to reach new heights.  The reason I do it so much is that I can see how much it is appreciated and I know how much I would appreciate it if I was the fan.

The Words With Friends challenge is first and foremost competition. WWF only lets you have 30 games going at a time and I always have that many going.  I’ve been playing that game along with Scrabble for a few years and it’s been fun competing and trying to get better. When I can have the competition mixed with some fan interaction, it’s that much better.

There have been several instances of athlete tweets causing controversy in the past year. Do you think that athlete activity on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook  should be monitored by teams or the league?

EM: Some guys fail to realize that social media is a public forum.  What one says on there is just the same as saying it to a camera in an interview.  If anyone does stir up controversy they quickly learn from it.  Some guys learn that it’s not something they want to do and others will like the attention and feed off of it. Personally, I’m usually just trying to interact and entertain. I don’t believe there should be monitoring but maybe a little guidance at times could be productive.

How are you enjoying living in Philadelphia? What are some of your favorite things to do or spots around town?

EM: I love the city of Philadelphia.  My favorite thing to do here is eat.  It is unbelievable how much great food is in this city.  I’m just trying to eat at all the great places. It’s going to take a while.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: Did Thor get a Twitter account for the holidays?

Mathis’ dog Thor. Image via Mathis’ Twitter feed

EM: Thor said he was way too cool for Twitter. I can’t argue with that.

End of Part Two.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part One of PSMs interview with Mathis for some great insight on the Eagles 2011 season, Howard Mudd, and the Eagles’ o-line.

Thank you once again to Evan Mathis for his kindness in sharing his time with Philly Sports Muse.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/phillysportmuse.

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