The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY – Social Media Edition


Gone in 60 Seconds…or Less

Due to a camping trip with a lack of cell phone service–or technology for that matter–I wasn’t able to watch any football. I know, devastating! I asked for a satellite… the crew said no. Authentic camping it was.

So, I’ll be calling this my “bye week” and switching gears to something very prominent in sports right now: social media. As a professional athlete, Twitter is the best social media tool to connect and engage with your fans on a personal level.  That can be a good or bad thing (or an ugly thing).

Practice makes perfect, right? The same applies with Social Media.

You compose a tweet or Facebook post in roughly 60 seconds. After you hit send, the world is open and ready to judge you with a billion people on Facebook and 500 million on Twitter. Recently, athletes, coaches and even athlete’s family members have been the target of GOOD, BAD, and UGLY social media ethics.

THE GOOD
@LarryFitzgerald

The wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals has a pretty good handle on how to make a powerful statement with Twitter. He’s always engaging with fans by RTs and keeps his posts primarily focused on football. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fitzgerald started a Twitter Campaign to raise funds. He tweeted,


This was great use of his notoriety and social media to spread awareness and raise funds for a charity near to his heart.

THE BAD
@lolojones

Sometimes it only takes one tweet to cause uproar. Olympic hurdler, Lolo Jones is very familiar with just that scenario. Early in October, Jones received a tweet from former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand joking around about challenging her to a race. Jones didn’t notice LeGrand’s avatar of himself in a wheelchair and replied, “Get checked for a concussion. Clearly, u’ve been hit in the head… Cos u arnt beating a track athlete.” Jones was quickly told by other users of LeGrand’s injuries, she wrote:

Although LeGrand didn’t think it was a big deal and completely understood, the damage was done. The tweets were taken down and news articles were in the works.

THE UGLY

When ruckus is created by someone close to an athlete, the star still pays the consequences, even if they had no part in creating it. We can try and coach the athlete on proper social media techniques, but it looks like their families need it too!

During the Saints’ 28-13 win against the Eagles, Marcus Vick complained about the offensive line’s protection of his brother and wanted him out of Philadelphia. “Please trade my brother. We requesting out of Philly!!!! Please please please,” Marcus tweeted. The tweet was deleted from Marcus’s account.

“That’s not me,” Michael said. “If it doesn’t come from me … I’m in the middle of a full-fledged game. I don’t know what’s being said. I don’t know what’s going on. But I definitely got it corrected. We definitely had a serious heart-to-heart conversation.” Marcus later stated his apology on Twitter.


Twitter is only one aspect of social media, but can be used as a great resource for athletes if you know how to correctly use it. In 60 seconds or less you have the ability to express your opinion, start a conversation, raise money for a charity, and make mistakes. It’s up to the player on how they want to have their brand portrayed across the web.

By: Dana Bakich

Dana Bakich is the Founder/President of iSportsWhisper, a social media consulting company focused on the sports industry.

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