Luongo’s new Twitter avatar.
Designed by @thestanchion.
It’s striking that Luongo’s digital persona is recieved so differently by the public than his "real" life image as a professional athlete.
Despite a sparkling NHL resume and mountains of evidence to the contrary: Luongo been called a choker, a diver, emotionally frail, a basket case, a whiner, a guy who "can’t win big games," oh, and in the sports column equivalent of a stroke: "weak sauce."
In the digital space that Luongo occupies deftly on Twitter, however, it’s a totally different story. For his Tweets, Luongo has been called innovative, brilliant, mysterious, "subversive" and "the most interesting athlete in hockey."
Pictured above is the new Twitter avatar for @strombone1 the unconfirmed confirmed Roberto Luongo Twitter account. The image is simple but it’s pretty much perfect, and it’s worth breaking down why.
Read on past the jump.
This week the world tuned in to Twitter – not television, Twitter – for the most up-to-date (if not always perfectly accurate) reports from a massive "Franken-storm" that slammed into and flooded New York City.
Twitter users were uniformly preoccupied with the damage that Hurricane Sandy had caused all along the Eastern Seaboard, right up until the news broke that Disney had bought Lucas Films. At which point the denizens of Twitter descended back to their usual default position of riffing endlessly on nerdy miscellany.
That’s Twitter in a nut shell: your feed can (and often will) go from the highest stakes imaginable, to completely meaningless filler in five seconds flat.
For sports fan culture, this type of social interaction on Twitter and elsewhere has fundamentally altered the way diehards follow the game. It’s a vibrant mileau that incoporates and amplifies the features of a call in sports talk radio show, a bar filled with your buddies, and a charity event or a signing (or something along those lines) where fans can interact fleetingly with the athletes they root for.
For "hockey fan culture" and how it finds expression on-line, the rise of the "insider culture" that runs rampant on Twitter is often singled out as something particular to hockey. The attention these "insiders" have received crested this past summer thanks to NHL trade market slash fiction accounts like @HockeyyInsiderr. HockeyyInsiderr, of course, is best known for being probably in high-school and for his trademark Twitter avatar photo featuring a Hitchockian sillhouette of a deal-making front office executive with a riddler’s question mark emblazoned on his noggin.
That’s the image that Luongo is mocking, and it’s hard not to admire the subtle joke here. Luongo after all is pretty much the diametric opposite of a bogus hockey rumour account. Rather than a high-school kid masquerading as an "insider," with sweet NHL connects, Luongo is as inside as it gets – and uses Twitter to poke fun at himself, make fart jokes and indulge us with his hyper-meta comedy stylings.
If you think back, Luongo’s Twitter success has arguably been built on the foundation of his extreme self-awareness and how that shows through in his humourous "meta" flourishes. From his ongoing bromance with a fake Roberto Luongo account (run by a Blackhawks fan), to the jabs he continually hits "rumour breakers" like @SamJam99 and @HockeyyInsiderr with – these sorts of jokes have become Luongo staples.
Luongo has basically taken the insider culture and the "fundamental fan delusion of control," flipped the script and gets comedic milleage out of skewering the limitations and the absurdity of the medium with his real fake Twitter account.