I Follow: Michael Smith

Host Michael Smith (l) with tight end Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers on the NFL Live set

Editor’s Note: I Follow is all about ESPN employees on Twitter: what they Tweet, whom they follow and how you can interact socially with anyone and everyone.

Twitter Handle: @MrMichael_Smith
Followers: *125,938
Following: *446
*(As of 1/11/12)

ESPN2’s Numbers Never* Lie co-host Michael Smith is an argument waiting to happen on Twitter.

Bring on the debates. Whether it’s about sports, music, pop culture, religion or relationship advice, he’s got it covered.

One thing is for sure, he’s not afraid of the reaction to his opinions.

Michael Smith

One night, Smith made a very “safe” comment about a game, or so he thought.

“My all-time favorite Twitter debate was after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last year when the Celtics played the Knicks in Boston,” Smith explained.

“It was literally Carmelo Anthony and a bunch of scrubs, but the Knicks almost won! I remember going on Twitter and tweeting: ‘You gotta give it up for the Knicks.’ Seconds after complimenting their effort, New York Knicks fans started cursing me out! It really gave me a glimpse at how New Yorkers really feel about sports. They don’t care about moral victories or how you played. They just want to know if you won or lost.”

Overwhelmed by the response, Smith said, “Sheesh, I was actually trying to be nice for once.”

FR: It sounds like you’ve had some pretty memorable times on Twitter. When did you join?
MS:
January 2009. I was actually hesitant to join at first, but my friends convinced me to try it out. I love it now.

FR: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
MS:
I don’t follow people haphazardly. I discover new people every day and follow them for specific reasons. In the sports space, I love to follow Jemele Hill (@jemelehill), Mike Hill (@MikeHillESPN), Bomani Jones (@BomaniJones), Trey Wingo (@wingoz) and Shannon Cross (@mscrossy).
One of my favorite non-ESPN people to follow is @DragonflyJonez. He’s one of the smartest dudes on Twitter. He’s clever and funny, but don’t let his sense of humor gloss over the fact he’s really smart. His range when it comes to his references is outstanding.

I also enjoy following @CuffsTheLegend. He definitely knows his stuff. He’s opinionated, and I find myself very intrigued by what he has to say. If I had a show on Twitter I’d host it with @DragonflyJones and @CuffsTheLegend. Their expertise on a range of topics is incredible.

FR: What have you learned on social media?
MS:
Self-control. I’m a very emotional and reactive person. I have a short fuse and I’m very high-strung so it has taught me to control that. Twitter is a good exercise of self-control because a lot of people try to test you. Typically a stranger shouldn’t bother you when they say something negative, but it can really impact you. My temperance has carried over into life, too. Now I can let stuff go more easily.

FR: Funniest moment/event on Twitter?
MS:
Tweeting during any kind of award show like the Grammys or the Oscars is cool, but there’s nothing better than Twitter during a game. It’s the ultimate viewing party. When the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers got voided the response on Twitter was great! I tweeted ‘They can do that?!’ And everyone knew what I was talking about.

FR: Well it seems like your followers know you pretty well. Does anyone famous follow you?
MS:
Rapper Talib Kweli (@talibkweli) started following me one day after I tweeted his lyrics. I was shocked because I’m a huge fan of his music.

FR: You tweet lyrics every now and then, but you’re better known for using funny sayings and hashtags. What are your favorites?
MS:
#LetMeBeGreat and #WhoHurtYou

FR: It sounds like you spend a lot of time on Twitter. What is your longest stretch without using it?
MS:
I took a two-week hiatus, because I needed to clear my head. I think everyone should do that. It really puts everything in perspective. It reminded me that I don’t have to say everything that’s on my mind.

FR: Everyone needs a break, especially with a job like yours. You started your career with the Boston Globe as a general assignment reporter in 2001. How have you transitioned since?
MS:
From 2003-04, I was the lead beat writer for the New England Patriots and then later in 2004 I came to ESPN as an NFL analyst. My first appearance on ESPN came in 2003 when I appeared on Around the Horn. Around 2006, I became a full-time TV analyst/host moonlighting on NFL Live, SportsNation, College Football Live, First Take, Outside the Lines and more.

FR: You can’t leave us without offering up some relationship advice. Any tips for single people?
MS:
Tell him/her how you feel. The times I’ve said how I feel, many times the other person feels the same way. Even if they don’t feel the same way, at least you don’t have to wonder about it. Just go for it! As you can see, I think I’m the Steve Harvey of relationships. #NobodyCaresTho