Dwight Howard got ‘sociable’ on Twitter, wound up calling some lady ugly, because #zing

Dan Devine

The past couple of weeks had been quiet on the Dwight Howard social media front — outside of an Instagram photo of a rainbow, there hadn't been many developments to speak of since the new Houston Rockets center dropped a killer ACUVUE promo — which made it kind of surprising to see him start doing a bunch of interacting with fans and followers on Wednesday evening. What was less surprising, though, is that the interactions eventually turned to trolling, and that Howard responded in kind.

Things started out innocuously enough:

That's just a nice, friendly chat between a pair of Web surfers doing their level best to navigate the Information Superhighway, which is pretty neat. The back-and-forth emboldened some other Twitter users to seek real-time interaction with the Rockets star:

Not exactly the most invigorating conversations, but hey, the acknowledgment itself is nice, and the recipients sure seemed to get a kick out of it.

This, however, is the Internet, and whenever something starts positive, it will just about always veer negative sooner or later:

Uh-oh.

Don't start engaging, Dwight. Just keep it moving, because if you don't, this is almost definitely going to end with you making a bad joke.

Good move, Dwight. Get your McGwire on and just face the future.

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

I mean, pretty good zing — unless, of course, this heckler's got a personalized jersey he can Twitpic to burn you back, which is like a 50/50 proposition — but still, this is an unadvisable course of action ...

... and there it is. Roughly on par with a "yo mama" joke, creativity and maturity-wise, and just as much of a bummer for all involved and following along at home.

When asked by one user why he would "entertain this bulls***," given his status and success, Howard offered a simple reply: "man I'm jus havin fun."

Sure, cracking jokes is fun, playing what Bomani Jones used to call "Hater Galaga" seems like a decent way to pass the time and the temptation to fire back must be massive, given the sheer amount of vitriol and venom most public figures — perhaps especially athletes, and particularly those whose actions have angered a lot of people — face on a day-to-day basis. And I get the argument that, as 21st century brands and corporate entities, there's an awful lot to be gained in terms of visibility/fan engagement/marketing opportunities by players who maintain steady social media presences.

I'm not entirely sure there's a ton to be gained by getting mad and calling people ugly, though; it just seems like a bummer of a way to spend your time, whether you're famous or not. It might be a better idea to get familiar with the block button and get comfortable with the idea of closing the app when people start to be jerks. It's like a great, fresh and princely man once said: "Let God deal with the things they do / 'Cause hate in your heart will consume you, too."

(And if you're going to start zingin', maybe at least come up with something better than a schoolyard fart of a goof.)

Hat-tip to SB Nation.

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