In sports it is important that best practices are followed in social media because of how visible most athlete and professional sports organizations are. As alluded to in my title, the interaction between these athletes and the general public has been taken to another level because of Twitter and fans feel like they have a different relationship with athletes because they can send tweets to them and in some cases receive tweets back from people they considered their heroes.
However, it isn’t always the fun-loving tweets displayed by athletes. A number of professional athletes have gotten in trouble for the tweets that they have displayed in the past. Some have called out officiating, while others have called out teammates and opposing players. In other cases, athletes have written negative remarks about race, religion, politics and sexual orientation.
When Jason Collins became the first NBA player to say he was gay, he got a ton of positive feedback from former teammates and other celebrities, but he also got the negative comments like this one from Mike Wallace in the NFL.
These are when athletes get in trouble on Twitter. People are entitled to their thoughts, but they don’t need to take to their social media accounts and make it public.
There are a number of athletes who use Twitter the right way and one of my favorites is NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He takes the time to interact with his followers and goes on to ask them questions so he can interact with them. Here is just a small example:
— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) May 25, 2013
This has nothing to do with football, it is just a simple tweet that doesn’t hurt anyone, but makes regular individuals feel like they are interacting with one of their favorite players.
Twitter has its own section where it gives suggestions for best practices and here is one for Athletes. The one line that sticks with me on the page is, “your tweets should reflect the things you’re passionate about.” This is true whether you are an athlete, an entertainer or just a regular individual. If you tweet the things you are passionate about, than you are a lot less likely to get in trouble than if you tweet just the first thing that comes into your mind.
In our company we do use best practices by educating out coaches and our athletes on what to use Twitter for and what to not post on there. This was a topic that I touched on a lot in my last post, but it is important that as a public relations official we monitor this and make sure we keep our coaches and athletes out of trouble, while at the same time making sure that we use their presence on Twitter to help sell our product.