The ‘It was hackers’ excuse
When a high-profile person posts something stupid on social media and then gets “caught,” it seems the only excuse on the table lately is, “It wasn’t me, it was hackers.” Yawn. Who actually believes this excuse? Who ever did?
The latest to offer up this all-to-common excuse is young NHL player, Tyler Seguin. He was just traded to the Dallas Stars. The tweet in question? “Only steers and queers in Texas.” You can read more about the what the 21-year-old tweeted HERE.
Of course, he deleted his tweet, and the team has “addressed” Seguin as well as issued the obligatory, “This, in no way, represents the organization, blah blah blah,” statement. In addition to the standard apology and clarification, the Stars also included, “…and we’ll continue to work on educating our players regarding the importance of their conduct on all forms of social media.” Work on educating? That’s a fancy way of saying, “try.”
An athletic organization that doesn’t take the time to educate – not attempt or try or wish to but actually really sits their athletes down for some hard core PR and communication training – deserves the heat of the spotlight when their players behave irresponsibly. Those organizations should not be allowed to issue the empty “it was hackers” or “we’ve addressed the issue” excuses if they are not going to invest the time and effort to protecting their brand by equipping their front-line ambassadors with proper tools to represent the organization professionally, blades on or off.
My favorite quote from Seguin, not only expresses what TRULY happens when he’s online, but likely what happens when a lot of athletes and others decide it is time to tweet. “…sometimes I forget that I’m on Twitter in front of a quarter-million people and not just talking to my friends. It’s just another learning experience.” That is the mentality we are dealing with. And that is a behavioral shift that can easily be changed with good old fashioned education.
Beaming Bohemian consults with university athletic departments to establish social media guidelines, educate staff, coaches and student-athletes, and implement strategic communication and content plans which work to achieve positive and purposeful goals.