Some of the most popular sports in North America are weeks away from getting starting, with professional football leading the way with college football and college basketball close behind. It is as best a time as any for players to be urged to review Tennessee basketball’s 50 tips for tweeting athletes.
The suggestions outlined by Tennessee media relations expert Tom Satkowiak are aimed at Division I student-athletes, but many if not all of them can be direct at professionals as well. Some of them would seem common sense, but history has shown that some athletes, while possessing superior strength, endurance, and dexterity, lack such judgment.
The entire list can be viewed here, but there are few that need to be highlighted as these are the most important tips, and the ones that seemed to be ignored most frequently.
3) After composing a Tweet, but before you hit send, ask yourself: “Would I be comfortable saying this in front of my parents, my grandmother, my pastor?” If the answer is no, discard it.
This is really a tip for everyone, but especially for younger, more impressionable athletes who are just beginning to be a part of a world where they are or will get paid millions and always be in the spotlight, it’s important to not try to become someone you are not, and
28) Don’t Tweet after a tough loss. You pour your heart and soul into training to become a champion, and losses are emotionally draining. Sleep on it. Your followers will still be there tomorrow.
This tip is the most ignored among athletes, with players just after the stress of playing taking to Twitter to vent or complain. There are myriad examples from which to draw, but one that stands out in the NFL was Buffalo Bills wide receiver questioning God after he dropped a would-be game-winning touchdown catch.
30) Don’t allow a hater with 20 followers to bait you into a “Twitter beef.” Ignore them and remember their actions are usually fueled by jealousy.
This has been more of a problem for English athletes, with golfers being heckled by fans on Twitter and most notable striker Wayne Rooney getting into a spat with a stranger online.
35) Consider polarizing topics off limits on Twitter. Avoid commenting on sexual orientation, race and religions you don’t understand.
This is sort of the Rashard Mendenhall rule. He made headlines offering his opinions when Osama bin Laden was killed, and whether or not his opinions were valid and informed, football fans are not interested in hearing from Mendenhall on politics and world affairs.
36) Know the type of Tweets that are boring and painfully unoriginal. They include such gems as A) Just got a great workout in; B) I’m up early, finna get this money; C) Wattup Twitter??
This should actually be a rule for everyone using Twitter, but it especially applies to athletes who often when not involved in a game, may not have much to say at all.
Ultimately, the first and last guideline for Twitter should be that everything tweeted will be seen, and while an athlete has freedom of speech on the medium, they do not have freedom of consequence. Many of the rules seem like no-brainers, but without fail there will be many missteps during the year with athletes on Twitter.