TK’s Twitter Troubles
I’m about to make a confession. I love USA Channel’s Necessary Roughness. Do you know the show? The lead character, Dr. Dani Santino is a psychotherapist whose main client is the fictional football team, the New York Hawks. She was brought on board after their star wide receiver was unable to catch any passes. She was referred to the team because, fresh off her divorce, she had a one-nighter with the team’s trainer. Juicy.
I was a little behind in this second season and finally caught up on last week’s show. (It airs every Wednesday night at 10pm for those interested!) The episode guide for last week’s “Mr. Irrelevant” promises, “Dr. Dani works her magic on a world-renown illusionist whose next trick could prove his last. In addition, Dani tells the kids about her relationship with Matt as he learns to navigate front office politics. Plus, TK gets into a Twitter flame war with an all-too-familiar foe.” Forget about everything except the last sentence. Twitter (and Twitter used by athletes) was actually written into the episode!
I hadn’t read the episode guide before watching and so I was thrilled when Twitter became a part of the conversation, and then a main thread of the story. Here’s the scoop, again from the episode guide, this time the full summary: TK is irritated by his lack of “cred” on Twitter so he hires a celebrity Tweet Master to help him fight back against his detractors, including “The Minefield.”
This episode was absolutely delicious. The writers of the show threw in a bunch of Twitter slang, as TK talked about how he needed to be trending, was panicked that his arch rival was trending, not him and constantly worried what everyone was saying about him. There is a scene where after he hired his ghost tweeter, his friends are reading what people are saying about him. Since he’s not the one actually tweeting, TK says at some point, “What did he say? What did I say?” I may have even picked up a new term, as the character TK was talking about Twaters. Twitter + haters = Twaters. Don’t you just love it? All the panic and worry are all just to stay relevant. When his ghost tweeter starts posting photos of TK in all of the other team’s uniforms, the GM steps in and warns not to continue down that path. In the end, it turns out that he and his rival had both hired the same ghost tweeter and make amends. Imagine that!
As delightful, and a bit silly, as this particular episode was, we can actually gain some insight into what might go on in the head of a pro athlete. I’m sure there is great pressure to stay relevant, a huge desire to be trending and that it is all too easy to get caught up in smack talk. These athletes have a lot of pressure to perform during the game, and now in the digital age, to perform well in the social stratosphere. We’ve seen all too many pro athletes pop up in the news because of something dumb they posted on Twitter. When was the last time one of them made the news for a positive and influential tweet?
What also seemed outside the norm, was the interest the GM took in what was appearing on TK’s Twitter feed. I’m sure there are plenty of teams who take a mild interest in what their players are posting, but how many GMs step in and reprimand their players for some of the stupid things they say on Twitter and elsewhere? What would be totally awesome is if even the pro teams would come to understand that a social media education and how to use these networks effectively, sets a foundation for a successful PR game. Working with all the players, coaches and staff in pre-season builds the foundation for a strategic communication program, where everyone is singing the same tune. The team can spend the season building each other and the fans up, instead of getting stuck in Twaterville.