News and notes of interest around the country:
Up first; John Calipari may have started a new trend. Twittering seems to have taken off since UK coach John Calipari started doing it. Calipari may not have been the first coach to Twitter but he certainly seems to be the one sparking the furor.
Tom Crean may be shedding Indiana's old-school image, at least when it comes
to Hoosiers fans.
He turns out the lights briefly before home games, tapes pre-game video messages for fans and now has joined the ever-expanding world of Twitter.
About two weeks ago, Crean began posting messages on the online communications service so he could keep fans apprised of what's going on during the offseason. Since then, he has posted messages on everything from where he has traveled to opinions about other sports teams at Indiana.
Although the NCAA banned text messaging in August 2007, there are no rules
preventing coaches from posting messages on online sites. There is a growing
legion of coaches participating, including new Kentucky coach John Calipari.
So Crean conferred with athletic department officials about what can and cannot be posted and still meets twice a month with the compliance department to make sure he doesn't run afoul of NCAA rules regarding Twitter or anything else.
As athletic departments increasingly launch personal Web sites and Twitter
accounts for their coaches -- you can follow Calipari and Indiana University's
Tom Crean on Twitter, and University of Louisville coach
And that information is coming more directly than ever.
There was a time when UK fans were so desperate for a connection to then-coach Pitino that they stole items from his trash bins and took dirt from his front yard.
Now fans can get Calipari's take on his team's workouts sent directly to their cell phones.
"That's what this Twittering is about," Calipari said. "It's about our fans."
Not everyone seems to buy into Twitter for coaches, however:
I'm skeptical, honestly. And I say that as man who has been instructed by my bosses to Twitter. I even did it for a while. I Twittered from Calipari's house on Selection Sunday. I Twittered during the Memphis coaching search.
And then I thought: Why, exactly, does anyone need to hear anything more from me?
Or from Calipari, honestly. Or from Daly or Shaq or any of us?
Why do we need to know that Calipari met the CEO of YUM Saturday? Or that Daly's latest GF was born in '69?
Why do we need to know that that our friend/brother/neighbor just ate something/got caught in the rain/had a particularly satisfying trip to the Port o' John?
It's all too much. Too much phoning and texting and Facebooking and tweeting.
I'm fully aware that I sound like an old coot here. And that Twitter is just another way to stay connected.
But how about the need to be unconnected once in a while? How about the need to entertain a thought without immediately broadcasting it?
Twitter is just a medium, its defenders say. But can we at least agree that some mediums lend themselves to reflection more than others? And that the time spent sending thoughts on Twitter might be a distraction from time spent conjuring and developing thoughts worth sending?
So I'm done, finished, and I don't care what the bosses say.
Yes, I might miss out on some important insights along the way. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
Calipari: "A little birdie just tweeted in my ear, 'Friesan Fire.'"
Seriously. Twitter? What is wrong with us?
Don't look at me like that. I'm not the neighborhood crank, kicking you kids off my lawn. I've embraced the blogging revolution, bookmarking multiple sites and visiting them every day. More than 20 million Americans write a blog, many of them for audiences approaching zero. Less than 9 percent of the blogging public makes any money at all, and only 2 out of every 100 bloggers support themselves fully. But still 20 million people do it. And I get that. It's personal expression. It's art. Doesn't matter whether it's done well or not. Art is art. So I get blogging.
Facebook and MySpace? I don't get that, unless it's for dating purposes. Horniness, I understand. The need to tell people what you're doing at various junctures of the day? And to read what other people are doing? Gregg is folding clothes ... I don't understand. And I never will. My life shouldn't be that interesting to you, and your life damn sure isn't that interesting to me. Even so, more than 200 million people are on those social networking giants, including several of my family members. It's the impossibly impersonal Internet version of the corporate Christmas card, but OK. Fine. Not a peep from me.
But now I'm peeping. Because you're tweeting.