January is a difficult time for a footy fan to be on Twitter. With the transfer window open, hundreds of accounts rack up their followers alleging to know of an impending transfer. Some are legitimate; most are not. What, without question, cannot be questioned, however, is the insatiable appetite that Twitterites have for information. Any kind of information. Fact or fiction, in 140 characters or less, please and thank-you. Now. This week we heard the story of 17-year-old English schoolboy Samuel Rhodes who pretended to be a football journalist, guessed correctly on a few scoops, and managed to get to over 20,000 followers. He is not the first to do this and wont be the last. The outing of Rhodes came in the same week that former Premier League star Stan Collymore took a brave stance to demand more from Twitter to stop the disgusting levels of abuse he receives, many of which simply comes down to the colour of his skin. Twitter, like the world, can be a dark and depressing place, where it is easy to lose faith in humanity. Yet, it can also be magnificent. For me, it has shown me things on this gorgeous planet of ours I wouldve never have seen, it has introduced me to some brilliant writers, whose work I would never have found, and given me a regular education on things that interest me, helping me become more knowledgeable about subjects I am passionate about. It is up to me to ensure, from Twitter, I get much more of the latter than the former, but it is getting harder and harder to find the gems amongst the rubbish. For that reason, this week I learned about the examples of Rhodes and Collymore indirectly through Twitter. I do not follow either. This is my personal choice. Rhodes, whose account has since been suspended, succeeded not necessarily because he was right more than he was wrong but because he was able, in 140 characters or less, to write what people would be interested in. He quite often didnt write the truth, yet people were interested in what he had to say, so he became popular. This month I have experimented in following Twitter accounts who told me they had inside track on transfers. The moment they started retweeting articles from the UK press telling me Juventus were selling Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio to Manchester United tomorrow, for example, they quickly became unfollowed. I am aware that I am not their target audience. I care very little for transfer gossip. I actually blame the brilliant magazine Match, bought by almost every teenage English boy in the 80s and 90s, for this when they once ran on their front page a picture of my favourite player, David Platt, claiming they had an exclusive that he was returning to Aston Villa. Once I opened the magazine, I found it was an April Fools Joke and my college mates laughed harder than they did at Alan Partridge. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, no chance, I am waiting for the player to be introduced at the press conference. That is just me, however. Football fans are obsessed to read their clubs being linked with players and, incredibly, most of them either do not care or do not know that most successful transfers come out-of-the-blue and the long, drawn out ones done in the media are often the ones that do not get completed. In a week of tweets around Rhodes and Collymore, thousands more rained down on timelines last Thursday when a supposed new way of ensuring a transfer was secured came to light. Wayne Rooney has started following Juan Mata on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/85RgaHSWe5 — Mr. Transfer News (@MrTransferNewss) January 23, 2014 Notice the double S? #smalldetails Now, it is very unlikely that Ed Woodward and his staff at Manchester United sent out an in-house memo to their players saying please follow our latest recruit. So, it is safe to assume that good ol Wazza followed his new mate to get to know him a bit more and allow him, once his new mate decides to follow back (note - Mata has been slightly more cautious who he follows in light of this news and continues to read tweets from Spanish & Chelsea teammates as well as others from Coldplay, The Beatles and Rafael Nadal) to then send direct messages even though he will soon have his mobile phone number. If you were a football fan on Twitter last Thursday for a couple of hours between 1pm and 3pm Eastern time it would have been nearly impossible to escape the "news" of Rooneys latest follow. Retweet after retweet after retweet. Done in less than a second with little to no thought. Yet, what is it all for? Sure, you can learn something about who people follow, I will give you that, but this? Told to us all that many times? Who really needs it? My mind went back to a more innocent time when the same thirst for information existed but wasnt available to people. RT @YorkshirePost: @BrianSpecialOneClough now follows @LeedsUnited. Deal must be done. Follow @YorkshirePost to find out when players start following @BrianSpecialOneClough. Football fans of those times certainly werent as uneducated about the game just because they werent able to get access to information quicker. They read the brilliant amount of literature made available to them by outstanding journalists whose reputations were based on their copy, not the amount of followers they had. So what are football fans learning from Twitter in 2014? It is believed that there are now over a billion twitter accounts that have been started since it was launched in March 2006. The same statistics reveal that over 100 million are active daily tweeters and, on average, over 500 million tweets per day are sent out. In an era where it is getting harder and harder to get people to read, people are tweeting more than ever. Once seen as a platform to make sure consumers can read what interests them, it has now provided those followers with a reason, almost instantly, not to bother opening it as their eyes are immediately guided elsewhere. When I tweeted about this article I am fully aware that some people didnt even have the attention span to read the entire tweet. Others, read the tweet and didnt click the link, some clicked the link and jumped ship on the article earlier on, some are still with me but have skimmed this sentence because too many people do not read properly anymore, leaving the rest of you still sticking with this. For now. Thank-You. This week I had a discussion with a young man in this industry who wanted to know more about what he should do. For some reason he wanted to talk to me yet, despite that decision, he is a smart guy with a good sports brain. He wondered if he should tweet more when he is watching sports; I told him to tweet less. During a match, Twitter opens up a door on a gigantic theatre and allows you to come in with your mates to discuss what is going on as the game plays out in front of you all. During the discussion you will often meet new friends and quite often this can be great fun but the next time someone calls you out for your opinion on a team or a player I suggest, if you care, to check how often he tweets during a match. If he tweets often it will be difficult to watch the game close enough to form strong, informed opinions. With live games around the world giving football fans more access than ever, attention spans are getting shorter and shorter as people cannot wait to jump on their mobile device to give their take on something. When a television replay is being given to the audience, to show a great example of what just happened, millions around the world are missing it because they have their head into their mobile device tweeting to their followers what they just saw. Some people love this and everyone is entitled to their own cup of tea but if you are buying a ticket to that kind of party you should know what you are signing up for. Hashtags and retweets open up your very own, personal Twitter Universe and, as the stories around Rhodes and Collymore have proven, can pull you, even amidst the tranquility of a Sunday morning, to a land of vile insults where absolute lies are talked about as facts. It is a dangerous world that continues to get your attention, very often over the people sitting in the exact same room as you. (You know you have done it; truly well done if you havent). For a fan, Twitter can give you a lot of good things but if you must ignore the game, or person you are sat with, to dive head first into Twitter, be careful what you are choosing to read and write. You owe that much to your brain and the one thing that is getting more and more precious to all of us - your time. #thanksforstickingwithme Oakland Athletics Store . The Blueshirts hope to stay alive once again when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Sundays Game 6 battle at Madison Square Garden. Chris Bassitt Athletics Jersey .com) - Jimmy Butler made four key free throws down the stretch to lift the Chicago Bulls over the Boston Celtics, 109-102, on Friday. https://www.cheapathleticsonline.com/115m-chris-bassitt-jersey-athletics.html . With the Pirates in the thick of the race in the NL Central, the timing couldnt be better. Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night. Wholesale Athletics Jerseys . Ryu (8-3) allowed a run and three hits in six innings and struck out six in his 13th start. In his first 13 starts last season -- his first in the major leagues -- the left-hander was 8-5 with a 2.85 ERA. This was the ninth time this year that Ryu has allowed fewer than three earned runs, and he is 7-0 in those games. Cheap Athletics Jerseys .C. United have acquired midfielder Alex Caskey from the Seattle Sounders for a third-round pick in the 2016 MLS draft.TORONTO - After the Toronto Maple Leafs fired coach Randy Carlyle, general manager Dave Nonis handed the reins to assistants Peter Horachek and Steve Spott for the time being. Heres a look at some of the potential candidates to take over on a full-time basis, either soon or after the season:Pete DeBoerFired as coach of the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 26, DeBoer could fit right in with what the Maple Leafs want to do as far as improving puck possession. DeBoer has a relationship with Spott and winger David Clarkson from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and is considered a Brendan Shanahan guy.Mike BabcockBabcock is under contract with the Detroit Red Wings until the end of this season, but that hasnt stopped the speculation about the NHLs best coach going elsewhere. Reportedly interested in becoming the highest-paid coach in the league and running a winner, Babcock would have to weigh those things if considering the Leafs.Dan BylsmaFired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after another disappointing playoff exit, Bylsma is a players coach who would be very opposite of Carlyle. Bylsma won the Cup in 2009 after taking over for Michel Therrien and can at least be part of changing the culture with a new team.Todd McLellanThe San Jose Sharks off-season circus has given way to a pretty good hockey team. But if the Sharks fall apart in the playoffs again, McLellan could be out of a job and instantly becomes a top candidate. Had McLellan been fired seven months ago, the Leafs mightve parted ways with Carlyle to get him then.Peter HorachekHorachek ran the first practice of the post-Carlyle era and could be running the show in the interim as Leafs brass decides what to do. Horachek was the interim coacch when the Florida Panthers fired Kevin Dineen last season.dddddddddddd The Panthers didnt give him the chance, but the Leafs just might.Dale HunterMark Hunter was recently hired as the Maple Leafs director of player personnel and could be an NHL GM of the future. If that future is in Toronto as a replacement for Dave Nonis, Mark could hire his brother Dale, who had a short stint with the Washington Capitals. Remember, Shanahan is a London Knights product.Steve SpottSpott is in first season as an NHL assistant and would have to be considered a long shot. But he enjoyed success with Kitchener and then the AHLs Toronto Marlies in reaching the conference final. Spott is a tell-it-like-it-is guy, something a core of stars on their third coach could use.Paul MacLeanThe 2013 Jack Adams winner as coach of the year was fired by the Ottawa Senators in early December, not because he had become bad at his job but that his attitude had changed. MacLeans tactics, like Carlyles, may be outdated, but he can motivate a group as a fresh voice if called upon.Kevin DineenDineens time with the Panthers didnt work out so well, but that may have been a product of a group not yet ready to win. Hes on Joel Quennevilles staff with the Chicago Blackhawks this season and may be ready for another head job soon. Dineen is from Toronto and a young up-and-comer.Dallas EakinsEakins was the hottest coaching candidate two summers ago when the Edmonton Oilers hired him. The former Toronto Marlies coach couldnt get the Oilers turned around and paid the price by getting fired last month. Eakins may be destined for an assistant-coaching job first before getting another shot at running a team.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter ' ' '