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NFL players use Twitter for all sorts of things. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick uses it as motivation.

Specifically, Kaepernick has "favorited" a series of hostile and/or vulgar messages based on his subpar performances the past two weeks. He was asked about it on Tuesday by reporters.

"It's something that I do for me," Kaepernick said, via quotes distributed by the team. "It helps me."

He later acknowledged that, indeed, it provides motivation.

A couple of the messages express a preference for Alex Smith, who is now 3-0 during his first season in Kansas City.

The practice serves as a reminder that, while NFL players are professional athletes, they often benefit from outside stimulation. For Kaepernick, that stimulation is coming from largely anonymous strangers.

If it works, maybe 49ers fans should create dummy Twitter accounts and start sending more hostile and/or vulgar messages to Kaepernick.

He'll need all the motivation he can get on Thursday. Kaepernick faces a Rams team that beat him in 2012.