Sports fans love when they have the ability to interact with their favorite athletes and sports teams via social media. Like mentioned in the previous blogs, social media opens up dialogue between sports figures and fans who get to express the joy, happiness and sometime frustration and anger. I can only imagine how eager an athletes or sporting team must feel opening and reading their twitter account after a comeback win. And how apprehensive the same player will become when reading tweets after a disappointing lost to a rivalry team.
I am sure we have witnessed or maybe even engaged in a nasty “tweet beef.” In the sporting industry some of the challenges associated with athletes and sporting teams engaging in social media is the simple fact that they become vulnerable to both the highs and lows of the emotions of sports fans. And some fans can go very low.
Jimmy Kimmel has dedicated some of his late night comedy show to have sports figures read some the mean things people say about them. I must admit it is as mean as it funny.NFL players read mean tweets
The damaging part of sports figures engaging in social media is when the athlete actually decide to respond to one of the hundreds of hateful and cruel messages they receive. Unlike ordinary people like you and I, if athletes like Steve Curry responded negatively to a tweet, his tweet will become a trending topic and will be retweeted thousands of time within the first 24hours-not good publicity.
Usually, within a few hours, these athletes have to send out some sort of apology that appears to have been written by someone with a college degree in public relations. It uses words like “thoughtless” and “insensitive.” It talks about having “regret” then closes with the obligatory, although often insincere-sounding, “I apologize to anyone who might have been offended by my comments (Jones, 2016).”
“Undoubtedly, athletes are public figures. In the connected world of today, aspiring professional athletes must be prepared to act as professionals at an early age. Young athletes must realize/be instructed that anything they have ever posted on a social media account is available to anyone that wants to dig deep enough. Here are some tips for aspiring, young athletes to easily control their public image by navigating the minefield of social media:
- Delete old accounts– If a social media account is not being used, it should be deleted.
- Clean up current accounts– Go through all of the posts on active accounts.
- The Grandma rule– Before every post, an athlete should take a second to think “Would I want my Grandma to see this? (Quiels, 2015)”
Unlike athletes, it is imperative for companies in the sporting industry to have their brand represented via social media. In recent years, social media has played a key role in the success of brands like Under Armor, ESPN and the NFL. Sporting brands use social media to stay competitive through offering updates on new products, professional athlete sponsorship and promo codes. However, just like professional athletes, brands in the sporting industry also have a responsibility to interact with fans and customers in a sensitive manner that is beneficial to the brand’s image.
Guys its simple…be a good sport 🙂