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.
One of my go-to sites, The Next Web, which is a great online and social media resource, posted THIS article about updating Twitter profiles. It’s a clever little tutorial that shows you how to update your background, header and profile images. It seems it was needed, as many celebrities, athletes, brands, teams – you – have yet to take advantage of what I like to call, social “real estate.”
I cannot get over how few high profile individuals and brands have updated their Twitter profiles to include the new header image. There is a lot of room for creativity here!. Two athletes I wish would update their profiles? Hello @TimTebow, and Apolo Anton Ohno! I’m surprised at Apolo who is normally very socially savvy. Here are the few athletes, celebrities and brands I did find who have made great use of the header image. They’re all linked, so click away to view their profiles…
@FranklinMissy USA Olympic Swimmer
@LarryFitzgerlad NFL, Arizona Cardinals
@karrileewalsh USA Olympic Volleyball
@Matt Barkley USC Quarterback
@NastiaLiukin USA Olympic Gymnast
@HarvardCrimson The background is fan-centric, the header image is seasonal and the profile image is simply their logo. But it all works well together.
@BaylorAthletics Love the use of the header image to point to other social sites.
@UWAthletics Nice motto to go along with that bio and images! Background images features coaches – Sweet!
@TechAthletics Simple but effective. Lots of red!
@Brutus_Bukeye Great use of Mascot as official account and answers the question, “What IS a buckeye, anyway?”
@BrooklynNets (I’m not sure I love this one, except that it is consistent.)
CELEBRITIES (Hard to find celebs who have updated!)
@RyanSeacrest (Probably the best of all with the most thought put into it.)
@richardbranson ( i suppose he’s a celeb too!)
@MariahCarey (I don’t love her so much, but her Twitter profile looks cool)
When people find you on Twitter, your background and header image can help you make a good first impression. Here’s some ideas for different individual use of the header image:
Student-Athletes: You can use your header image as a rotating billboard to promote yourself. Try posting your team’s stats or your batting average or that you got an A in chemistry. Post a team photo or one of you in action. You have to be strategic about your photo here.
Students: You might use the header image to highlight what is important in your life. You can put up a photo of your family or beloved pet, maybe your group of friends at the beach or all dressed up at the school dance. College students might post a photo of yourself at a famous spot on campus. Your header image can match your Facebook cover photo so that you present a well thought-out personal brand.
Coaches: Throw up an old photo of you when you were in the pros or in college. Current and prospective players will get a kick out of it, but it also gives a hint of your story. Get the athletic department to help you with a graphic that has your team schedule for the month. Spotlight any of your team members who make Athlete of the Month or achieve other awards. This shows you are focus on your players’ personal achievements, too.
Brands: You have so much opportunity here. Highlight your product. Give some face time to the hard-working employees who make your company a success. Give a shoutout to your favorite customers. Take a pointer from @BaylorAthletics and give your followers reason to click on another social site.
Professionals: Here’s a chance to tell people what you are all about. Are you artistic and creative? Do you love sports? Are you musically inclined? Do you love inspirational messages? Take this opportunity to showcase the best of you so that when that hiring manager or prospective client find you on Twitter, they are WOW-ed the moment they land on your page. (Writing this blog post actually inspired me to do more with my background and header images – even without fancy software, I can create something nice. My current photos are part of my brand design, but the backgrounds are too busy.)
Many social sites, like Twitter, continue to add features to improve the user experience and provide opportunities for visual appeal. It’s easy to understand from first glance who you are and what matters to you when someone sees your Twitter profile. Give them something great to look at and something that will drive their attention to what you are tweeting. If you see a great Twitter header image, leave a note in the comments so we can all see! Now watch this video and then take advantage of the image “real estate” on Twitter – Make it work in your favor!
Over the weekend, the International Business Times published a great list of athletes to follow on Twitter. It never hurts to take a look and see who’s using this communication tool in a positive way and who are the influencers in sports. While the list is a bit slim outside of soccer (The only golfer to follow is Tiger? Only three olympians and three baseball players?), it does highlight the more active accounts.
New follows for me include:
NBA – Paul Pierce @paulpierce34: Unlike most athletes, Paul Pierce uses his Twitter to publicize his charity which promotes good health.
Tennis – Novak Djokovic @DjokerNole: The world No. 1 tennis player tweets a lot. He tweets personal photos, funny one-liners, and gives fans a glimpse into his daily life.
Boxing (and for entertainment value) Floyd Mayweather @FloydMayweather: Mayweather is not scared of placing his crazy life on full display via Twitter. Whether he posts Twitpics, name-checks rapper friends, or just let posts his thoughts, followers are sure to be entertained.
Here is the article in full or go to: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/355620/20120623/50-best-athletes-follow-twitter.htm?page=all
Saturday, June 23, 2012 11:11 AM EDT
The 50 Best Athletes to Follow on Twitter
By Nicole Bartnik
Twitter has becoming an increasingly more accepted form of communication, which is resulting in both flattering and unflattering comments from celebrities.
Athletes are no different. Many famous sports figures have used Twitter as a form of clarification or to make a point they feel isn’t being addressed by the mainstream media.
Others athletes simply use it as a form of publicity, and as a way to interact with their fan base. Then there are the celebrity athletes who simply want to make a public comment, no matter how trivial it is.
Here is a list of famous current and former professional athletes who have a loyal following or deserve one based on their interesting tweets.
Kaka @KAKA: Brazilian midfielder Kaka became the world’s first athlete to reach 10 million Twitter followers and is 16th in the list of most-followed tweeters. Kaka tweets in Portuguese, English, and Spanish, tweets photos of himself and other soccer stars, and even responds to fans and followers who tweet him.
Cristiano Ronaldo @Cristiano: One of the most recognizable figures in sports, Cristiano Ronaldo, or his PR team, tweets on his page nearly every day, primarily about soccer. Sometimes the Portuguese star announces contests and sweepstakes to win signed memorabilia. Not bad.
Stuart Holden @stuholden: The midfielder for the Bolton Wanderers uses his Twitter page to present entertaining thoughts on everything from soccer, bros, and even underpants. Of course, he also poses deep philosophical questions to his followers like he did in this June 16 tweet: “is it humanly possible to eat a single grape and be done?”
Cesc Fabregas @cesc4official: The central midfielder for Barcelona and Spanish national team posts a little bit of everything on his Twitter account, which boasts over three million followers. If you are a Fabregas fan, you can find out all about his dinner plans, injury rehab, and his whereabouts.
Wayne Rooney @WayneRooney: Despite having over four million followers, Rooney engages with fans on Twitter. He presents his opinion on events in the sports world and loves tweeting about playing video games with teammates.
Ronaldinho @10Ronaldinho: If you speak Portuguese, then you should probably follow Ronaldinho on Twitter. If you don’t speak the language, you should probably still follow him simply because he is one of the greatest players of his generation.
Hope Solo @hopesolo: Ever since the World Cup, it seems as though the world can’t get enough of Hope Solo, so you might as well follow her on Twitter. Solo tweets daily about soccer, and how she keeps herself busy.
Alex Morgan @alexmorgan13: Girl next door and mega-star athlete, Morgan keeps her Twitter account casual, and updates her followers about her day-to-day life and thoughts.
Ray Hudson (@liverayhudson): Some consider Hudson the most annoying broadcaster in sports, but he certainly is colorful with some of the oddest references and analogies you can think of for soccer.
Shaquille O’Neal @SHAQ: Now a TNT broadcaster, O’Neal is one of the funniest figures in sports, and even in retirement is capable of saying something hilarious. After all, his bio does read “Very quotatious. I perform random acts of Shaqness.”
LeBron James @KingJames: James has been known to be honest, and at times reckless with his Twitter. His tweets have made news, but recently, James has shown a softer side, posting pictures of his children, whom he is quite proud of.
Dwight Howard @DwightHoward: Howard uses his Twitter to respond to many of his over three million followers. Recently, he has also been using his account to promote various charitable causes.
Steve Nash @SteveNash: One of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time, the seven-time NBA All-Star still might have the most entertaining Twitter account in sports. In December of 2011, he even posted this gem: “Patches of chest hair are growing back nicely after my echo cardiogram. Which is Nice.”
Lamar Odom : Player for the Dallas Mavericks and husband to Khloe Kardashian, Odom uses his Twitter to interact with his fans. He tries responding to answer most tweets he gets and also tweets links to charities and foundations.
Charles Barkley @CHARLESBARRKLEY: Perhaps the most outspoken man in sports, Barkley has had funny exchanges on Twitter, though he normally saves his best material for Ernie and Kenny on TNT. One of his postings included a back and forth with actor Daniel Baldwin.
Metta WorldPeace @MettaWorldPeace: Who doesn’t want to go inside the mind of one of the most unpredictable personalities in the game?
Dwyane Wade @DwayneWade : A Frequent tweeter, Wade will keep you entertained by mentioning basketball, his friends, and personal activities.
Kevin Durant @KDTrey5: Kevin Durant has over 2 million followers on Twitter.
He posts his thoughts after games and share interesting videos and links he finds with his followers.
Paul Pierce @paulpierce34: Unlike most athletes, Paul Pierce uses his Twitter to publicize his charity which promotes good health.
James Harden @JHarden13: James Harden always gives followers insight on team practices and games. The Thunder star also interacts with his fans on Twitter.
Terrell Owens @terrellowens: Perhaps to other player in the NFL makes such an effort to engage and intereact win his fans on Twitter. Kudos to you, Mr. Owens.
Chad Ochocinco @ochocinco: One of the more outspoken members of the league, New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is great about keeping his tweets interesting. He’s also one of the best in facilitating fan interactions, often challenging his Twitter followers to play him in video games like FIFA 12 online.
Reggie Bush @reggie_bush: With over 2 million followers, Reggie Bush uses the platform to present his thoughts on sports, current events, and post pictures. According to a June 16 tweet, Bush is a huge fan of the movie, Bridesmaids. Who knew?
Tim Tebow @TimeTebow: Tim Tebow’s Twitter praises God, is full of patriotism and humility, and promotes various causes. What else would you expect from the football star?
Aaron Rodgers @AaronRodgers12: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a regular Twitter user. He uses the site to interact with fans and post entertaining thoughts.
Michael Strahan @michaelstrahan: Former football star Michael Strahan’s Twitter bio reads, “If you have a life you don’t have time to hate!!” His Twitter page is full of positive messages and charity promotion. No hating to be found on this page.
Chris Cooley @thecooleyzone: Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins uses his Twitter to communicate with fans and sell his very own pottery, making his one of the more unusual Twitter pages in football.
Chris Kluwe @ChrisWarcraft: Punter Chris Kluwe is as much of a nerd as he is a football player. Kluwe is an entertaining and funny person to follow and he frequently interacts with fans. His page is full of video game related content, as is suggested by his Twitter name.
Darnell Dockett @ddockett: Darnell Dockett a defensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals is a hilarious twitter follow. He once live tweeted while local police had him pulled over. He tweets about too many topics to list but he is always entertaining.
Nick Swisher @NickSwisher: Nick Swisher of the Yankees shares funny pictures, messages his fans, and isn’t afraid to add exclamation points to his tweets
Brian Wilson @BrianWilson38: Brian Wilson simply has an entertaining Twitter to follow. On April 25, he posted a tweet that gave followers insight to his fun and carefree personality: “Surgery was perfect. Borrowed ligament from my ol’ pal Sasquatch. Only side effects: hairy arm and I talk like a wookie.”
Logan Morrison @LoMoMarlins: This Twitter is full of borderline inappropriate tweets. If you like outspoken an R-rated humor, then follow Morrison on Twitter for your entertainment.
Ryan Whitney @RyanWhitney6: Ryan Whitney of the Edmonton Oilers is a trashing talking, opinionated, and entertaining hockey player to follow on twitter.
Mike Green @GreenLife52: Washington Capital’s Mike Green is very candid with his followers and gives honest assessment of his play on Twitter. He also uses Twitter to voice his thoughts and interact with friends and fans.
Paul Bissonnette @BizNasty2point0: Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes is one of the most entertaining hockey players on Twitter. He constantly updates his page and gives fans some insight into his life. On June 22, he posted this gem: “Hey guys. How long should you run hot water over your toothbrush for before you use it again if you accidently drop it in the toilet?”
Roberto Luongo @strombone1: This account may or may not be Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. It follows and is followed by many other Canucks players and is occasionally mentioned among their tweets as though it were another player. He uses the semi-anonymity to tweet freely about himself his team and his team; hilarity ensues.
Novak Djokovic @DjokerNole: The world No. 1 tennis player tweets a lot. He tweets personal photos, funny one-liners, and gives fans a glimpse into his daily life.
Serena Williams @serenawilliams: If you are a Kim Kardashian fan, you should probably also follow Serena Williams on Twitter because the two tweet amongst each other a lot. Serena also posts her daily thoughts and information on her tennis travels.
Venus Williams @Venuseswilliams: Venus Williams makes an effort to respond to many fan tweets. She also uses her page to promote her clothing line.
Caroline Wozniacki @CaroWozniacki: Former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki tweets every few days about her tennis travels and gives followers a look at her life as a world class tennis player and girlfriend of Rory McIlroy.
Andy Roddick @andyroddick: He is always honest about his play and often self-deprecating, and isn’t afraid to show emotion, particularly on Twitter. His tweets are funny but informative, commenting both on the world of tennis and current affairs.
Rafael Nadal @RafaelNadal: Rafael Nadal’s bio on Twitter reads, “Tennis player.” Indeed, much the seven-time French Open Champion’s Twitter revolves around tennis and his tournaments.
Tiger Woods @TigerWoods: Though he is not the most well liked athlete in the world, there is no doubt that Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers of all time. If you like golf and want your feed filled with promotional tweets from Nike, you should follow him.
Dara Torres @DaraTorres: At 41, Dara Torres was the oldest swimmer to ever earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, and has won 12 Olynpic medals. Torres is an inspirational athlete and posts positive messages on her Twitter
Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps: Michael Phelps is one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time and uses his twitter to connect to fans.
Shawn Johnson @ShawnJohnson: America’s sweetheart gymnast tweets multiple times per day and posts about charities and causes she supports, workouts, and her thoughts.
Floyd Mayweather @FloydMayweather: Mayweather is not scared of placing his crazy life on full display via Twitter. Whether he posts Twitpics, name-checks rapper friends, or just let posts his thoughts, followers are sure to be entertained.
Tony Hawk @tonyhawk: Tony Hawk is the epitome of cool for over 3 million followers and uses Twitter to link to an extensive Instagram album.
Lance Armstrong @lancearmstrong: Much of Lane Armstrong’s Twitter page is filled with doping allegations and defense. If you like the drama, follow him on Twitter. If you don’t, you can still enjoy some of the inspirational messages he posts.
Danica Patrick @DanicaPatrick: Danica is a media darling. Patrick keeps her followers up to date with any or promotions she is part and posts about both her day-to-day and racing life.
UPDATE: This video has been made private or removed by CBS Sports. Attempts to locate another version have turned up empty. If you have a link to this video, please leave a comment.
CBS Sports posted this video the other day. Several head coaches weigh in on social media and the attitude they maintain about their players using the communication tools.
Syracuse Head Coach, Jim Boeheim stood out with his response, “I don’t even know what it is.” Followed by, “It’d be hard to adjust that, wouldn’t it?” He went on to comment that while he does carry a cell phone, he does not have a computer. It’s as though he was saying the topic is of no interest to him and he has no desire to learn or care.
Contrast that with a few of the other answers.
John Thompson III of Georgetown admitted that he knows that social media is part of life, but that he does not understand why it is important to post that you are at a pizza joint enjoying a slice of pizza. Understood. With some education and guidance, student-athletes can develop a purposeful content plan that is far more engaging than pizza slices.
Kevin Willard of Seton Hall wants his athletes to develop communication skills, so once the the team enters the building/practice facility, they must speak to each other and folks in the building. Cells phones are turned off and no texting or tweeting allowed. I’m sure everyone can appreciate those goals and rules.
“Teachable moments” is how Jim Christian at Texas Christian University sees social media. He says, “As opposed to just restricting them, you know, sometimes they have to make bad decisions in order to learn. And I think that’s what college is all about.” Here, here, Jim. You have a good attitude. We are working with young adults who are finding their way in this world, and who, unlike most of us in our college days, have any number of methods to shout out to the world. They are human, and yes, they are bound to make some mistakes. I’m glad to see that TCU allows the student-athletes to learn from their mistakes.
I was most impressed with Dave Rice, head coach of the men’s basketball team at UNLV. He teaches his players to use social media for the positive. He wants his players to uplift their teammates, to talk about the great experience they are having at UNLV. He is cognisant of the risks and the possibility that certain issues may need to be addressed, but ultimately, and this is why I appreciate him the most, he says, “I really believe in the importance of empowering student-athletes, making it a part of the education process and really using social media in a positive way.”
Can I get a WOO HOO?!?! As a head coach or athletic director, you may fall in to Jim Boeheim’s camp and not have the first clue what social media is and how it works. But I hope that you will adopt the attitude of John Thompson III and understand that social media is a BIG part of our world and a way of life for the student-athletes you are responsible for fostering. Be like Kevin Willard and set reasonable policies and guidelines which allow the students to utilize these tools, but in appropriate ways and at appropriate times, with a desire to build good old fashion personalities and communication skills.
Be like Jim Christian and take a positive approach to these communication channels and work with your student-athletes to navigate difficult speed bumps so they can survive the experience and learn from their mistakes.
Finally, and most importantly, lead with integrity, like Dave Rice and provide a foundation of trust in your athletes. Encourage them to develop good communication skills, craft good content and use social media for social good. It can be done. Educating and uplifting your students with supportive social media guidelines is absolutely essential in creating the best student-athlete experience. You’ll develop young adults with good character who care about their online profiles and take care to manage their reputation. Well-rounded and socially confident student-athletes better represent the university and are more motivated to be good representatives.
Who do you most identify with in this video? What attitude has your university adopted?