Twitter is a platform that many of us have become very familiar with over the past few years, and it is many different things for many different people. For example, I primarily use Twitter as a means to keep up with two fundamentally different topics: Marketing/Public Relations industry news and College Football. Twitter, in fact, is one of the main ways that I keep up with sports writers from all around the country; from national writers covering the major conferences like the SEC and the PAC-12 to beat writers covering local teams for small media outlets.
Along with sports writers, I also follow a number of athletes, both collegiate and professional. While many athletes’ tweets are well thought out, there are a number of instances that come to mind recently where their tweeting has gotten out of hand. This is one of the many reasons why many coaches, including Coach Pete at Boise State, have banned players from tweeting during the season. Twitter is a very easy platform to vent on when emotions are running high, and many coaches want to avoid having to deal with a situation that got out of hand on Twitter.
One example of this from earlier this year was the first week of the season when Michigan played Alabama. Players from Michigan State University, Michigan’s in state rival, were tweeting during the game that they could play Quarterback better than Denard Robinson, who plays for the Michigan Wolverines. Along with these tweets, there were many that were making fun of Michigan’s poor opening performance. The next day during a press conference, Coach Mark Dantonio of Michigan State addressed the media. He not only apologized for his players, but also expressed his anger in the situation, stating that his athletes should know better.
Dantonio also stated, “I didn’t see much difference when we played the University of Alabama a couple years ago, it’s tough. Our guys need to keep their mouths shut… especially those that aren’t even playing.” While nothing serious came from the incident, it seems like every year we hear about at least one player or team who embarrasses themselves by taking things a bit too far on a social media platform.
While Twitter is a great platform for sharing ideas and collaborating with others from a number of industries, we also have to realize that it is a public forum where everyone has access to what we say. When we represent a larger organization, whether it is a sports team, or the business that we work for, we must be always be aware of what we are sending out to these social networks. It is up to the individual to be aware of what they are saying online. With institutions and businesses becoming more and more strict about what they allow their affiliates to post on the web, it is best to err on the side of caution.
As we continue to see new social media platforms rise and fall, it is important that we continue to maintain a high level of caution on what we decide as fit to share with our friends and followers. While something may seem harmless at the time that you tweet it, it may actually be something that is significantly frowned upon by the organization that you represent. We must always maintain composure online, even when coming from our personal profiles, as you never know when it may come back to haunt you.