It seems this IS the question.
Many teams and coaching staffs have resorted to “banning” Twitter to prevent gaffes by their players or to protect them from those who will only criticize and trash the players of the university.
Before we jump to the always popular “educate them” as the resolution, let’s take this further. It is not enough to claim or make an attempt to “educate them”. Once educated, there needs to be a policy in place and to go further enforcement of said policy.
Now everyone claims to be a Social Media educator these days, but it needs to be said that “educating” does not mean putting limits on Social Media use. It does not mean restriction on what to do and what not to do. With every tweet, there’s an opportunity to spin it for the better of the university and most of all the player.
Yes, we’ve stated there are followers that will continuously criticize a player’s performance or lack thereof along with bashing decisions that player made on and off the field. What exactly do these followers want? They want a response! Most people will say those followers want a rise out of you (the student athlete), but most of all they are on the outside looking in and a response would
a) shock them and
b) satisfy their tweeting needs.
While it is not being said that you should please the follower, it is being implied this is an opportunity to help your brand.
How? Well I’d never thought you’d ask. I’ll turn it around to you.
Would you ignore them?
If you were a company and had negative tweets directed to you, would you ignore them?
Would you not interact and try to take that opportunity to spin it in a positive light and show that you understand Social Business 101?
Let’s say a Student Athlete received a tweet such as this;
“@StudentAthlete You lost us the game by throwing that interception in the 3Q, you should be benched for Tom Clark.”
A positive response (there could be many) could be:
“@FollowerofSA I’m going to make sure I watch more film and practice my reads so mistakes are minimized. Keep faith in me and let’s stay in touch throughout the season.”
Easier Said than Done
This is, of course, easier said than done for the athlete to do. I don’t advise they answer every single negative tweet, but a few responses in this tone could help the Student Athlete’s personal brand along with making a fan out of a once critical spectator. You never know what positivity can do, but it could always end with a tweet like this.
“Wow I never thought @StudentAthlete would answer my tweet. I’m now a fan of his.”