Jan 12

The Family That Tweets Together Stays Together

By caseyholdahl Posted in: RudyFernandez, DanteCunningham, PattyMills, MarcusCamby, ElliotWilliams
Fads, by definition, come and go, and that’s especially true for fads originating in the digital world. Services like MySpace, Napster and Google Wave have all seen periods of intense growth, followed by a plateau of varying duration before all but falling completely out of our collective consciousness. Things that seemed so important end up being imminently disposable. It’s the new way of the world.

Is Twitter, the insanely popular social networking and micro-blogging (for lack of a better term) site that allows anyone with an internet connection or phone to tell the world his or her business in 140 characters or less, fated to end up like so many other good ideas gone bad? Could be, but that’s not really important, at least as it pertains to the Portland Trail Blazers. Right now, it’s the most useful disseminator of information in the world and for that reason, amongst others, it’s been adopted by many of the Trail Blazers.

Six Trail Blazers – Nicolas Batum, Marcus Camby, Dante Cunningham, Rudy Fernandez, Patty Mills and Elliot Williams – have twitter accounts that they use for one reason or another. Of those six, only Fernandez has been using his account regularly for more than a year. On the opposite end of the spectrum are Batum and Cunningham, who have started using Twitter only recently. And all of them seem to have different reasons for why they started “tweeting.”

"Just interacting with a lot of different people, a lot of fans out there,” said Camby, (Twitter handle MarcusCamby23) of why he started tweeting. “Connecting with a lot of old friends I haven't had a chance to speak to in years. That's the way of the world right now. ”

A quick perusal of Camby’s Twitter timeline backs up his story. Camby, who has made plenty of friends while playing for five teams through 15 years in the league, goes back and forth with former teammates, friends and fans on his Twitter account. Sometimes he’ll pose a question to his followers, other times he’ll offer encouragement for a local sports team or direct others to stories he finds interesting or inspirational. And it also keeps the vet, who is the father of two preteen girls, up to date on all the hip new trends that the kids are talking about these days.

“I'm just trying to stay young and youthful with all these young guys we have on our team,” said Camby. “It's fun.”

For Fernandez (Twitter handle Rudy5Fernandez), who was the first Trail Blazer on Twitter and is far and away the most popular player on the team with over 184,000 followers, the ability to allow his fans back home in Spain to keep up on his exploits in Portland guided his decision to start using the site.

“I was one of the first guys for use Twitter,” said Fernandez. “For stay in contact with the Spanish people, the Spanish fans. I think it's great. It's great for the fans, stay with us, stay follow us. I think it's important for us.”

While Fernandez might have started using Twitter to converse with his fellow Spaniards, he has since used his account to reach out to reach out and repair relations with fans in Portland and beyond, often times tweeting the same in both Spanish and English.

Regardless of the language, both Camby and Fernandez had similar motivations to start tweeting, but there’s another reason a growing number of Trail Blazers have joined the “Twitterverse”: to get Patty Mills off their backs.

When it comes to Twitter, Patty is just as persistent in pestering his teammates to start using the site as he is in defending opposing guards, possibly more so. Mills (Twitter handle Patty_Mills) is the most active tweeter on the team, but he’s not satisfied with his own enthusiasm. He wants to bring the rest of the team to the world of Twitter as well.

“Patty is a little crazy about the Twitter,” said Fernandez. “He use a lot of times the Twitter, but that's Patty. He's a funny guy. I think Nicolas have the Twitter because Patty every day tell him 'Hey, let's go to take a twitter.'”

Rudy is correct in his assumption.

"I started using Twitter because of Patty Mills,” said Batum. “We should call Patty the ... I don't know what we should call him, but he tries to get everybody on Twitter. He say 'You don't have Twitter? You get on Twitter.' I got Facebook, so I say ‘No (to tweeting)’, but he say 'Nic, you've got to get a twitter.' Two months I say 'No, no.' But then I say, 'Ok if I do it, you'll leave me alone?' He say yes, so I did it. That’s his fault.”

Mills has also pestered Dante Cunningham (Twitter handle DLamarC33) into starting up an account and continues to work on Wesley Matthews, who currently says he’s considering joining up, mostly to placate the second year guard from Australia.

“I just keep bugging and pestering them about it and just telling them how good it is and how the fans out there in the community really appreciate a couple sentences here and there during the week,” said Mills, “That goes a long way. It's nothing big. You can be like me and tweet all the time or you can just drop a line here or there, but it goes a long way with the fans. And that's the main thing, to get the fans on our side because they're a big part of our push this season.”

Mills, unlike many celebrities or athletes who don’t grasp the social media element of Twitter, actually engages in conversation via Twitter with his followers. He’s started a Twitter-based trivia game call “Aussie Takes With Patty Cakes, to teach his followers about the intricacies and terminologies of his native land. And recently, he’s used his account to raise awareness of the massive flooding that has ravaged much of Australia.

Mills didn’t start using Twitter to be a spokesman for all things Aussie. That occurred by happenstance. Patty’s real reason for starting his account, and his insistence on getting his teammates to follow suit, came from a desire bring his team together, something every good point guard should do.

“I think (Twitter) kind of ties us together a bit more,” said Mills. “There were a number of things that I tried to do at the beginning of the year that would help the team become closer and I think Twitter is one of those things.”

“It's not big, but it's a small thing and the more people that get involved, the closer you get. Those things don't need to be a big thing because the small things can make a big difference. It's great to see the conversations we have on the bus about Twitter and what people say. It's good fun.”


  1. Nice piece, casey. however i'm old fashioned; i prefer to stick with ol' reliable facebook

    by blazerdarren77 on 1/12/2011 6:18 PM
  2. Patty gets it. I'm glad he's taken it upon himself to bring the team close in whatever way possible. Pat Stacks!

    by krizzikinz on 1/12/2011 6:21 PM
  3. lest we not forget that every day the blazers have a game is greeted with a Patty Mills "GAME DAY BALA GAME DAY!" tweet. it's a great way for these guys to show their personalities and even reply to some tweets sent their way.

    ~ Kassandra

    by Kassandra on 1/12/2011 9:25 PM
  4. Patty: "Twitter Evangelist"

    by occassia on 1/12/2011 10:38 PM
  5. Great Blog! I love that they use Twitter and like to see what they are up to. Keep up the pressure Patty!! Keep up the tweets as well!!

    by RedRudy5 on 1/13/2011 6:20 AM
  6. I would have to go take lessens on tweeting before I could join.
    It isn't that I am against it--it is just the lack of know-how in this modern technology, plus my lack of communication skills. I am just now getting the knack of blogging. I am a tease, I joke, and usually light hearted, and my comments are often taken wrong.

    I wrote Kassandra to keep me informed on the players. I don't know if that is the easy way out or I am just to inhibited in my before times ways to try to change. I have tried before to twitter, but didn't do so good.


    by Hg on 1/13/2011 10:34 AM
  7. I agree with Kristin! Nice blog showing yet another way to unite Blazer teammates as well as the team and fans together.

    by Leash23 on 1/13/2011 10:43 AM
  8. Now time to get WessyWes on twitter!

    by DHawes22 on 1/13/2011 10:47 AM
  9. only casey would write a blog about twitter, love it.

    but what is google wave? haha

    by Cristi on 1/13/2011 11:00 AM
  10. Sorry to be the "Grammar Police" Casey, but I spotted a typo. "... another reason a growing number of Trail Blazers have joined the “Twitterverse”: to get Patty Mills (of) their backs " <------ Should be "(off) their backs."

    by James Gable on 1/13/2011 11:07 AM
  11. Casey, I'm kind of upset that, even though they are injured and one was cut, you forgot Greg Oden and Jeff Pendergraph. Also, Paul Allen has a Twitter account, why didn't you add him into this article.

    by PingTrowaLi on 1/13/2011 11:15 AM
  12. Casey, I'm kind of upset that, even though they are injured and one was cut, you forgot Greg Oden and Jeff Pendergraph. Also, Paul Allen has a Twitter account, why didn't you add him into this article.

    by PingTrowaLi on 1/13/2011 11:52 AM
  13. thats great to have blazers on twitter to reach out to family, friends and also still waiting for LMA and Wes to get twitters...Go Blazers!!!

    by Lkiki503 on 1/13/2011 12:11 PM
  14. Greg Oden's account is now inactive, but I should have included Mr. Allen, and will do so.

    Thanks for catching the typo!

    by caseyholdahl on 1/13/2011 3:24 PM
  15. great blog and yes i just recently started following the blazers on twitter ty to patty mills i love his enthusiasm on game day game day bala game day and the photos are great. before twitter we never really got to know the personalities of the players so this is very welcome and i love pattys aussie takes

    by teresa galer on 1/14/2011 6:57 PM
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