Tweeting to Distraction?

With the rise of poker players using Twitter, and having started posting there myself(can’t yet bring myself to say tweet yet), it makes me wonder – what effect posting on Twitter when playing a tournament has on a players’ performance?

Barry mentioned this to me the other day and I thought it was a brilliant observation. All the major poker news sites, including Pokernews, have Twitter feeds for the popular pros. It doesn’t take long looking through the list to see that they are definitely updating followers when sitting at the table. Sure a lot of are updating when on break, but dang if you look through some (I’m not calling anyone out) there’s a whole lot a tweeting going on.

I personally think is awesome for poker. Twitter is made for poker and having players give real time updates on the action is huge for fans. Brings the action you can’t get anywhere else right to you. It’s awesome and I’ve definitely been following the ME through some of them, along with blogger updates from Pokernews. Plus since I had a player I was coaching go pretty deep into the tourney, I spent more time that I probably would have normally checking out the action.

So it’s obvious that Twitter is great for poker, but is it great for the poker player? I actually think and argument can be made strong on both sides. On the one hand, being able to vent to a group of people about the action might keep some from Tilting. One of the things I suggest to a lot of players, in dealing with Tilt, is writing. Usually I mean for them to write about it afterwards, but I can see how even just a few sentences, even words can be enough to take a little of the edge off. Getting things out of your head is one way to release emotional pressure and I can see how posting updates can do that.

On the other hand, it could be a distraction. If updating your twitter feed suddenly takes more of a priority than focusing on the action it a problem. Likely a subtle one for most players where there just loosing small details that may or may not be material enough to make a difference…though I can guarantee that other players, likely players who already have focus issues, Twitter has just become another way to destroy their attention.

Have you actually been in a tournament using Twitter? What effect did it have? I’m really curious. I think it’s an interesting question and one that I haven’t seen asked yet…or does anyone else have any thoughts on it?

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