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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Have you ever Twittered? I have to confess that, like European federalism, gardening and 'Jedward', I always thought it was something for other people to worry about. Twitter, I found out this week, is a chance to spurt 140 characters of whatever you're doing at the world, or at least those inhabitants of the world who have elected to 'follow' you. Sunderland striker Darren Bent has convinced 16,537 people to follow him and, forget Stephen Fry, he is so entertaining that even I've joined up to make sure I don't miss out.

Traditional football journalism, you see, is dead. The days of hanging around in corridors grabbing quotes are long gone. Interviews must now be arranged in advance, usually with a PR chaperone. Mixed zones are hellish places, shouty seas of dictaphones with blinking, monosyllabic footballers churning out cliches. Today's footballers are protected from themselves by a phalanx of press officers. Unless, like Bent, they're on Twitter.

You might recall how Bent hit the headlines in the summer when he flipped out at the delay of his big move. With one flash of his Blackberry, he launched into a majestic, sweary rant at Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy. Stunned by the revelation that a modern footballer had opinions, the newspapers went wild, but the experience chastened Bent not a jot. It takes more than widespread condemnation to stop a dedicated Twiteree. Bent has continued to tweet, in recent days sermonising on subjects as diverse as Texan politics, the NBA and Michael Jackson's pet elephant. He chats to fans, banters with rivals and generally comes across as a throughly likeable chap.

What he hasn't yet Twittered about though, is the game on Saturday. In fact, as I type these words, Bent has been silent for over 27 hours. Nothing on the result, not a word on his appalling dive and no mention of that penalty miss. This is a great shame. If you are going to put yourself in the public eye, you can't just be there for your favourite things like Weetabix and classic Megadrive games. Cheating is bad enough, but I, as one of the 16,537, demand to know how it feels when you try and then fail to swindle your ex-team out of the points. This is the future. This is the dawn of 24/7 Twitter-accountability. Darren? We're waiting...