2012 has been quite the year for sport. The European Championships, Olympics, Paralympics and one of the most exciting – if golf can be exciting – Ryder Cups in recent times. Sports-wise, 2012 has had the lot. And with the growth of social media and particularly Twitter, we have never been closer to the action. But with all these interactive avenues open, it is best to make sure social media is used wisely.

The Euro final between Spain and Italy saw Twitter traffic reach 15,000 tweets per second. That’s some going, especially when it includes tweets from President Obama and the spokesman for erectile dysfunction, Pele. This is great for football fans all over the world – if you can’t be at the game, you can still be part of the action.

Sportspeople too have caught the bug. Clicking at random, you’ll find that even relative unknowns have thousands of followers.

Swimmer Emily Seebohm has suggested that Twitter and Facebook were huge factors in her less-than-great showing at the Olympics, claiming that her followers’ constant positive tweets made her relax too much.

So your followers can hinder you by being too supportive? They can also try to destroy you by trolling, as poor Tom Daly found out after receiving vile tweets regarding the death of his father.

Over in the UK, the John Terry racism row continued with a much-publicised spat between Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole, both long-time England teammates.

When you put yourself out there on Twitter, you will inevitably attract negative comments. Though hopefully, the positive ones will outweigh the negatives – unless you’re Emily Seebohm, of course.

When used well, Twitter and social media in general can help you engage with and inform your followers. Use it poorly or without a social media policy and you risk a red card, just ask Ashley Cole.