The antisocial has become social #mambatweets- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 4, 2013
With that, the Black Mamba is off and running into the Twittersphere. But there are some important things he needs to know before he makes the transition from "old-man" Facebook to the young, cool kid on the block.
Here are five pieces of sound advice for Bryant as he begins to grace us all with his presence on the social media platform:
1. You are not Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is the world's most recognizable athlete, and when he joined Twitter in November 2010, it made for exciting news for all sports fans. Would they finally get a glimpse into the world of the most enigmatic figure?
The Chosen One has racked up over 6 million followers and tweeted over 3,034 times, regularly interacting with his fans and providing more than basic PR rhetoric.
Kobe should follow suit and seize a real opportunity to grow his brand, which he will do if he plays this the right way.
2. Tweet & delete -- always a bad idea
Love him or hate him, Bryant is a smart guy, and probably won't be susceptible to foolishness like this, but it's worth repeating because it's such a terrible public relations move: Do not, under any circumstances tweet something that you wouldn't skywrite around the world.
That's effectively what Twitter is, a giant whiteboard with a permanent marker. Once a statement disappears into Twitter, it has you forever. Sort of like this.
3. Give us some pics
Kobe shouldn't just tell us what he had for breakfast. He needs to show us. What does the inside of his locker look like before a game? After? What's the view like from that helicopter he takes to avoid the vicious L.A. traffic? How many pairs of shoes does he have in his closet?
A picture is worth a thousand words, and certainly more than 140 characters.
4. Be engaging
Bryant will have millions of followers in no time, but a retweet here or there goes a long way in keeping fans interested. There will be some novelty as the newness of his account brings people in early on.
But to keep people buzzing and his brand strong, he'll need regular interaction. Give a lucky fan a retweet on their birthday. Follow a random fan, even for a couple of days. It means a lot to people when they know they're being paid attention to.
5. Have some fun with it
Bryant should take to Twitter to have some fun with his teammates or friends around the NBA. It's a great way to humanize the player who has been for all intents and purposes a robot throughout his career. Maybe he's even got more good stuff to say about Andrew Bynum's hair. Whatever the topic is, fans want to see athletes have fun with each other. It strengthens the fan connection exponentially.
It's also what makes Twitter great. Let's see how far Kobe takes this thing.
Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He has written for SB Nation and Examiner.com.
You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.