A Simple Thank You Is Easy Enough

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:

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.

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Going Social… Pros and Cons

Social Media plays a large role in sports and sometimes the relationship is extremely positive, but there are those times where athletes and organizations can get in trouble because of social media.

The ability to say and post anything has gotten numerous athletes in trouble and one of the most recent cases dealt with the Columbia University Football team, where after one player was being questioned for hate crimes, it was shown that over 43 tweets existed from members of the football team that had either racial or sexual themes towards them.

A story in Deadspin recounts the entire incident http://deadspin.com/columbia-football-is-no-longer-just-terrible-racist-h-497481274.

Of course this is the minority of how twitter is used, but it shows that nobody is invincible and that student-athletes must think things through when they are using Social Media.

In my role as Associate Director of Athletic Communications, I hold a media training session with each of my athletes every year and a large part of the training session refers to Social Media, most notably Twitter.  We suggest things such as reading over tweets before you hit send and not tweeting directly after games, especially losses.  Just these small rules can go a long way in helping student-athletes use social media more effectively.

One of the sports information directors at the University of Tennessee came up with a list of 50 rules for twitter for Student-Athletes which we use as a guide and can be found here.

When it comes to student-athletes using social media, they also have to make sure they follow NCAA Rules in each tweet, not promoting an outside company and not talking to prospective athletes.  Most compliance offices now have their own twitter accounts so they can make sure they watch over their athletes.

All of these examples may deter student-athletes from using social media, but when used the right way it is still the best PR that a department can ask for.  Reaching out to fans and young kids and thanking them for their support is such a small and easy way for a student-athlete to help build a fan base over social media.

Not only do student-athletes have to be careful on Twitter, but so do their coaches.  They are not allowed to talk about recruits or where they are traveling for recruiting until they sign a National Letter of Intent.  Coaches still can use twitter effectively, talking about their team, thanking fans for coming out and focusing on other parts of their squad, such as academics and community service.

These are all ways that Social Media plays a part in collegiate athletics.  It can be dangerous, but when done correctly it has proved to be the greatest tool introduced in quite some time.

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Need Last Minute Tickets To An Event? Just Use Your Phone

A mobile app that is used often for those looking for tickets to a sporting event or really any big events is the Stubhub app, which is available for both the IPhone and in the Android Marketplace.  This app gives fans the ability to look for last minute tickets to their favorite sporting event or even more importantly allows them to be the first to buy tickets when an event goes on sale even if they aren’t near their computer.

The best thing about Stubhub is that it also gives fans the opportunity to sell their tickets at the last minute if they are unable to go to the event.  There are options to filter tickets by section for most popular venues and you can even see the view from your section right on your phone.

With the Passbook feature on the IPhone, the Stubhub app gives fans the ability to download the tickets right to their phones and they can just have those scanned when they get to the event.

Determining the success of this app is pretty easy.  How many tickets have they sold from it and how extra revenue has come in because customers are able to buy tickets from their mobile devices instead of having to wait to go home to a computer.  In a 2011 article on Mobile Commerce Daily it was stated that over 30,000 events were available on Stubhub and that number have surely gone up.

And because of this app… All of those events are available at the palm of your hand.

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Social Media Applications In Sports

There are numerous social media applications that are available in the field of sports, from ways to follow your favorite teams to being able to watch your favorite teams right from IPhone or IPad.  Each of these apps have built in social media functions which assist in sharing of ideas.

1. NHL Game Center

GameCenter ScreenNHL GameCenter is a way for fans to keep track of their favorite teams and there are both free and pay options.  The pay option gives fans the opportunity to watch their favorite teams either on their computer, smartphone or tablet.  This application also works on Apple TV.

In this case you can see that fans have the option to “Check In” so that they can interact with others that are at the same game they are in.  This application also has the feature at looking at videos of goals and big saves through out the game.

2. MLB At Bat

MLB At Bat has the same purpose as NHL Game Center, but it is for Major League Baseball.  This app can also be used on your computer, smartphone or tablet and also has a feature to work on Apple TV.  There are different subscription plans where you can purchase just audio or the premium service which includes HD quality video.

This uses pretty advanced technology to give pitch-by-pitch information through out the game.  While there isn’t a true social media integration on this app, there is so much information that you can share via Twitter or Facebook.

These are just two examples of ways to follow your favorite teams and sports.

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How Social Can Sports Be?

Social Media has totally changed the way we look at sports and more importantly how sports are covered by journalists, but it isn’t always positively.  There are a few different types of services that journalists could use to cover sports.

1. Twitter

Twitter has totally transformed the ways sports are covered, but it has always been in a positive matter.  Journalists have become so interested in being the first to report someone that they aren’t always the most accurate.

One of the biggest stories to be reported falsely on twitter was the death of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was reported dead on twitter more than 12 hours before he actually passed away.  Some of the news organizations that were involved were CBS Sports and the Huffington Press.  It got to the point where the Paterno Family was forced to respond to the reports.

I tried to follow Twitter very closely over this past weekend because I was interested to see how the NFL Draft was being covered on Social Media.  In a few cases, reporters were able to use sources and report who was being selected before the actual picks, but I was surprised to see how little of that actually happened.  The majority of tweets were just recapping the picks after they happened.

2. Vine

The second social media service I decided to look at is how Sports are covered on Vine, which is a relatively new service, which takes quick six-second videos where you can shoot as many different things as possible.  This is a great way to give fans insider access to your program.  Here is a great example of the Brooklyn Nets and them showing warmups prior to one of their playoff games

While I believe Vine is a great tool for teams and organizations to use, it is also one less thing that organizations will rely on outside media for.  This product gives teams another way to relay their message the way they want to relay it.



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How Social Media Affected Today’s Events In Boston

I felt the need to take a look at how social media was used as it related to today’s horrible events in Boston.  While I don’t like to compare event and am uncomfortable with those relating this to 9/11, I will say that this event feels different because social media did not exist in 2001 and had it, September 11th would have been covered very differently.

But back to today’s events, which I believe showed the very best and the very worst of social media.  The positives are for those that lived through this events and were trying to reach loved ones.  With cellular reception spotty, runners and others in the area were able to post through Twitter or Facebook that they were safe.

But for all the good that exists through social media, I also think their are many things wrong with the way today’s events were covered.  Unfortunately we are past the days of media needing to check their sources and rechecking their sources.  There is too much false information that gets passed around because a media outlet wants to be first, instead of being right.

I also think that some of the photos and videos that were being shared by those in the area should be screened and reviewed because some of it is quite graphic.  The other problem we run into is everyone voicing their opinion.  This is not a time for politics, but for us all to rise up as one as a Nation and support those in Boston.

While social media definitely has its positives, events like this show some of the negative aspects of it.

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My First Post

Just set up my new blog to use for my Social Media class at Southern New Hampshire.  I have really enjoyed my interactions and my knowledge of social media, but i believe this class will help me grow in both knowledge and appreciation of social media.

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