Shutdown Corner - NFL

I joined Twitter in the middle of last December, and from day one I knew it was going to be something really fun and exciting for me. I think Shaq joined only a month before I did, but not a lot of other athletes were on Twitter, and definitely not a lot of NFL players.

A couple days after I started, our former coach, Eric Mangini was fired. That was a really good way for me to see the power of Twitter because tons of fans wanted to know what was going on directly from a Jets player. I responded to a lot of people that week!

There are two things I really like about using social media, as an athlete and someone in the spotlight. First, it's an excellent way to communicate with my fans. I try to respond to everybody who talks to me. Even if it's something short and sweet, I really try to get back to every single person. Second, it's a good way to stay relevant and put myself in the right circles. What I mean by that is I get a chance to speak for myself. I definitely still do appearances on TV and the radio, which is fun, but with tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, I've been able to speak for myself. So, I guess I have to stand behind what I say, but that's the way it should be!

You can tell that Twitter is having an impact in the NFL. When you're doing interviews in the locker room and members of the media are asking you about comments you said on Twitter, you know that it has become a big deal. The good thing is that coach Ryan doesn't mind Twitter. I have gone on the Twitter record and stated that we would be the best defense in the league. And when the media asked coach about it, he was supportive of me and what I had to say.

In the last couple of months, a lot of other NFL players have joined Twitter, so that's been cool to see. I thought it was really funny when Ochocinco and Merriman got into that battle a little while ago. But that's all it was, just pure entertainment. Then ESPN picked up on it and made it a big deal and it got overblown. That's probably exactly what those two wanted!

Different players are going to use social media different ways. So far, I've been trying to use it to talk to my fans (I've got some other plans, though!). But those two and others like to be jokers and have fun with it. It just depends on the person.

I'm excited to see how Twitter and other social media tools are used during the upcoming NFL season. I know some of the other players around the league have some tricks up their sleeves, but so do I!

Kerry Rhodes(notes) is the starting free safety for the New York Jets can be found here on Twitter, and here on Facebook.

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