Top Five Social Media Rules Athletes Need To Know

Angela Davis@jerseygirlsportContributor IDecember 6, 2010

Top Five Social Media Rules Athletes Need To Know

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    Athletes today are more like celebrities. Gone are the days when they just stayed on the field, court, track, etc., played the game and then went home. Back then, our only connection or inside look into their lives was a feature piece in a magazine or a Barbara Walters Special. Now we have social media, and not only do we know what they’re doing at all times, but we know what they think, how they feel and what they’ll do next–and that’s not always a good thing.

    Social media has definitely changed the landscape of the world. It has allowed millions of people to be connected faster and easier. It has changed the way businesses connect to consumers, the way media circulates information and it has made celebrities, once untouchable, now just a click away. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to manage it.

    There’s an old saying that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. I’d challenge that line of thinking, so much so, that I have created a short list of social media rules athletes need to know:

Less Is More

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    We, the fans, don’t have to know EVERYTHING all the time. A little mystery can go a long way. Being out in the social media realm all the time creates over exposure. After a while, we’ll get a little tired of you, especially when you’re not winning any games.

If You Don’t Have Anything Good To Say, Shut Up!

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    This is an old rule your mother should have taught you.

    Commenting about other athletes’ game, or lack thereof, their situation or personal issue in a negative way can sometimes come back and haunt you. Remember, one finger pointed at someone means there are more pointed back at you! We, the fans, don’t really like this.

    Especially, again, if you’re not winning any games.

Put On Your Big-Boy Pants

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    When you’re out in “social media land” you have to know that not everyone will like you.

    In fact, you’ll get and see more criticisms, judgements and crazy commentary than you can ever imagine. You need tough skin and the ability to let some things "roll off your back" when you participate in social media. While you have more access to mainstream media, when it comes to social media, the fans rule!

Think Before You Tweet

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    Here’s another golden rule: Read and re-read your tweet before you hit ’send’. Nothing is harder than trying to recant a statement. Once it’s out, it’s out there…forever!

    Unfortunately, with Twitter, you can make stupid statements in 140 words or less, just ask T.O. A few weeks ago he tried to backtrack his tweet and clean it up, but it was too late. Didn’t Kita and Mo tell him about this rule?

Social Media Can Be Good For You

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    More than anything, social media can help your image. You can respond, chat and/or talk directly to fans, promote a charitable cause you support and even head off rumors and bad reports. Look at Tiger Woods. After all his criticism about the media, he’s back on Twitter trying to rebuild his image and reputation.

    Social Media is powerful!


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    So athletes, the message is clear: be smart about social media AND make sure you’re spending more time winning games than tweeting!