Just a few years ago, interacting with your favourite footballer was limited to shouting at them from the stands during the rough and tumble of a game.
With the advent of social networking, telling your heroes your thoughts on the match is now only a tweet away.
Sporting stars, celebrities, businesses and politicians have all latched on to Twitter in a big way, sharing their thoughts with the world through the medium of punchy 140-character online messages and interacting with their ‘followers’ round the clock.
Andy Dickinson, an online journalism lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, has been on Twitter since 2007 with the name @digidickinson. He says the simplicity of the site, the interactivity and the regular updates are what appeal to many users.
He said: “People want to feel they are part of the loop. It’s instantaneous and does not take a lot of effort. You can stand in the middle of it and let it wash over you, or get engaged.
“In the last couple of years, there have been more celebrities on there and the connection you can have with a famous person appeals to people.
“There are other people I follow that I don’t know from Adam but when they tweet, it makes me smile or I like the tone. It’s not necessarily even anything useful.”
Comedian and radio presenter Steve Royle says he uses Twitter for everything from passing the time in a long queue to testing out topics for his show on BBC Radio Lancashire.
He said: “When you get into it, it’s brilliant. You’re never alone with Twitter!”
But who are the most interesting and worthwhile people from Lancashire to follow?
Here are just a few suggestions from different sectors to get you off to a start if you are new to Twitter, as well as a list of LEP staff who tweet.
@DowntownFrank (Businessman Frank McKenna tweets news, networking event info and views on policy)
@Kirsty_Henshaw (Dragons’ Den entrepreneur who interacts with consumers and also chats about life as a mum in Preston)
@CottonCourt (Business hub tweets regular updates on Preston city centre business activity)
@PrestonBus (Bus company uses Twitter to communicate with passengers and give the latest on travel updates)
@CocoBooLoves (a Preston boutique uploads pictures of latest fashions in its shops)
@pcc_leader (Preston City Council leader Peter Rankin engages in debates online)
@CllrTomlinson (Labour Coun Matthew Tomlinson voices his opinions on range of issues in Leyland and his work with Age Concern)
@FulwoodLibDems (Activists retweet messages from local councillors in Preston and national party)
@flintoff11 (Cricket star Freddie has 1m followers and regularly shares his TV reviews)
@pnefc (Official North End site full of news and match updates)
@NeilMellor33 (Ex-PNE player shares opinion on live matches)
@ClarkeCarlisle5 (Ex-PNE player offers views on sporting issues and promotes his work for Katy Holmes Trust)
@jwelsh08 (PNE player John has 7,000 followers)
> Media & the Arts:
@leponline (the Evening Post’s main news feed)
@FredianiITV (Preston-born ITV news editor Richard Frediani’s previews of that night’s news)
@GrahamLiver (BBC Radio Lancashire breakfast radio host)
@newcontinental (Preston pub tweets about events and arts groups across Lancashire)
@TheDukesTheatre (Regular news, jobs, videos and information on stars to have graced its stage in Lancaster)
@AlfieBoe (Fleetwood-born opera star chats with fans and posts about his schedule)
@steveroylecomic (Comic and radio host is a fan of one-liner Twitter jokes)
@lancspublib (Lancashire libraries provide regualr updates on events and book news)
@NWAirAmbulance (The charity passes on safety information from other organisations and posts details of the helicopter’s latest activities)
@LancsPolice (Police provide crime prevention advice, witness appeals and news)
@PrestonTaxi (Preston taxi driver tweeting about city life)
> Lancashire Evening Post
@gilliangraylep (Evening Post editor Gillian Gray)
@Mike_Hill_LEP (Evening Post associate editor)
@jensim2000 (Reporter Jenny Simpson)
@blaisetapp1 (LEP’s head of content Blaise Tapp)
@nwpicdesk (LEP picture editor Iain Lynn)
@Photo329 (LEP deputy picture editor David Hurst)
@ClareKelly_lep (LEP digital editor Clare Kelly)
@lep_business (Business pages)
@coatesieboy (Business editor David Coates)
@AasmaDay (Health reporter Aasma Day)
@realrachelh (What Women Want and What’s On Reporter Rachel Hurst)
@LauraWild_LEP (Reporter Laura Wild)
@Sedds_lep (PNE Reporter Dave Seddon)
@MrColinA (Digital manager Colin Ainscough)
@jimmy0507 (Digital producer James Rogers)
@markborland79 (Picturedesk’s Mark Borland)