Look before you tweet: The cautionary tale of @JoshGordon

What happens when you share a name with an athlete who's more famous for his off-the-field antics? And what happens when you beat him to that name on Twitter?

Somewhere in Brooklyn, New York, an iPhone pings.

A Twitter notification comes in. And then another. A few more trickle in over the next few minutes. 


“I love weed too bro.”

“You are despicable.” 

These tweets, and dozens more like them, have two very important things in common. First, they’re all meant for suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. 

Second, they’re all being hurled at the wrong person.


Meet Josh Gordon.


Josh is a middle-aged sales and marketing expert who resides in New York City, and the owner of his own company. He is also the owner of @JoshGordon on Twitter, and thus the recipient of hundreds of misdirected tweets intended for that Josh Gordon, the troubled NFL star who has yet to be reinstated by the NFL after failing multiple tests for banned substances.

The tweets Gordon incorrectly receives run the gamut, ranging from sympathetic and understanding to... neither of those things. Some are nasty. Even more are nonsense. Many are snarky. Most are incorrectly punctuated. 





“Yeah. It’s been a weird journey,” the non-football-playing Gordon told WFNY in a recent email. “I’ve gotten flamed many times on Twitter. People cursing me for being such a dumb ass [...] or just commenting on a play he made... when he was playing.”(1)

Those Twitter users doing said commenting are just as varied as their misguided @ mentions. There are aggressively confused Browns fans in the mix, of course, but just as many of those launching tweets at @JoshGordon seem to be bigger fans of marijuana than anything related to football. 




And then, there’s Gordon... the polar opposite. But the seemingly mild-mannered author of four books who also runs the sales and marketing-themed JoshGordon.com, says he takes his frequently mistaken identity in stride.

“In one business meeting, there were a lot of football fans who thought it was great fun to tease me about where I was hiding my drug stash and asked for a referral to my dealer,” he told WFNY. “I’m not the druggie type, so they thought it was great fun. I just took it as good-natured fun and rolled with it.”

Gordon said that if people do accidentally end up on his website looking for that other Josh Gordon, they see right away that he’s not the Cleveland Browns player. Instead of finding the man who’s gallivanting around the Hollywood Hills with Johnny Manziel, they find a man who’s gallivanting around Brooklyn in a Dodge Stratus. Instead of snapbacks, squats, and squad goals, visitors to JoshGordon.com find sales, strategies, and stock photography.

As clear as his website may be, it’s social media that continues to have many users confused. And, while there are more than 105 other users who go by “Josh Gordon” on Twitter, there’s only one who holds the handle @JoshGordon. 


As for the other Josh Gordon, the troubled NFL star has been noticeably quiet on Twitter, recently deleting all tweets dating back to mid-February. He went on a bit of a liking spree throughout the NFL draft, but has been mum since cutting his feed back to this cryptic post:


The hero of our story, that’s “non-football-playing Josh Gordon” to you, posts a few times a week on topics ranging from marketing and media to advertising and tech trends. One thing he doesn’t do, however, is check those @ mentions. 

“My problems all come from Twitter,” he said. “Now that I think about it, I have actually have stopped reading my Twitter stream. I used to read it at least a few times a week.” 


(1) Is that a burn, non-football-playing Josh Gordon?

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