Twitter may be the go-to medium for athletes the world over to connect with their legion of fans, but India legend Rahul Dravid for one cannot understand why athletes would want that sort of blunt, at times even downright rude, feedback being constantly thrown at them.
"Personally, I'm not a great fan of Twitter. Some of the feedback you get on social networking sites like Twitter is really poor and, sometimes, personal. The U-19 boys sometimes show me the comments they get on Twitter. I don't know why someone would want to put themselves in line to read stuff like that, which is not at all constructive. It's like standing at the boundary line. Back in our days, when we would stand at the boundary, we would get a lot of abuse when our back was turned to the crowd. But the moment you turned around and faced the crowd, the same guys will gush about your game and want to shake your hand.
"Twitter is like a mob. At the end of the day, it is nameless and faceless people who you're allowing access to yourself.
Players need to learn how to filter things that are valuable and what's not," Dravid said during the GoSports Foundation Athletes Conclave 2017.
Even as his contemporaries like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman have embraced the micro-blogging website, Dravid is a notable absentee from the popular medium which serves as an instant way for fans to connect with the stars.
"If you're a cricketer you get instantaneous feedback. Excess baggage used to be our feedback," Dravid joked before elaborating: "When we played a match and lost, the next morning at the airport you would have to play excess baggage fees. No one needed to tell you that they were upset by the team's performance. But if India had won the match or if you had scored a century, you could put 150 kgs on the counter and it would go through without a hassle. That's how instantaneous feedback would be back in our days. We didn't have Twitter back then. Thank God!"
The 44-year-old said that cricketers, or all athletes for that matter, need to "recognise who they can trust and whose feedback you really value."
"Players should not insulate themselves cause there's just too much knowledge out there. That's what I keep telling the U-19 boys as well. I encourage them to have conversations with others about their game because I don't have all the answers. But somebody out there might. Athletes need to be open to good, honest feedback. You need to find the two or three people who can give you constructive feedback. For the technical side of the game, it may be your old coach or a former player.
"But what's important is that you cannot ever be rude with the feedback you're receiving. Sometimes you get well-intentioned feedback from people who have known you since your childhood. What they're saying to you may not be relevant since the level you're playing at internationally, people don't understand a lot of things that happen."