It’s Twitterific! A lesson from ESPN

Bird in farmland bush, May 1972
U.S. National Archive

Today I was driving back to work from lunch with some of the members of the new NMPRSA board and listening to ESPN radio. The host of the show was talking about athletes who are on Twitter, and the potential of these athletes to “leak” confidential team information. (firings, new players, etc.) SEC fans found out the dangers of Twitter earlier this year when Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin tweeted the name of a recruit who had might signed with a team – a violation of NCAA rules.

One of the points the host (whose name I can’t remember right now) talked about the problems he saw with athletes preempting team announcements about fired personnel, cut players (especially before the players found out) and the like – and asked how long it would be until players were accidentally – or staffers were purposefully – pulling a Kiffin and violating some kind of rules structure.

So I sent out a tweet mentioning the topic and got a couple of interesting responses back. First from Albuquerque PR firm owner Tom Garrity:

@desertronin , interesting tweet on ESPN and their percieved “danger”. Team owners should be embracing twitter, not fearing it.

And a follow up by blogger and online journalist Matt Reichbach:

@tg123 @desertronin but athletes should use common sense on what to tweet and what not to tweet. (e.g. things that haven’t been announced)

This reminded me of the recent cluster-tweets I’ve talked about before. Sometimes people don’t realize that Twitter is not just a communications tool between friends, but between you and (up to) hundreds of thousands of their closest “friends.” Any one of which can resend their tweet, or take one tweet out of context. (See above link)

Not to mention how many of them might be reporters, especially if you’re a celebrity. And then the story’ll take off. For fun, replace team with “your company” and athlete with “an employee.”

Now, stop hyperventilating at the thought, take a deep breath and go get a stiff Old Fashioned. Feel better? Great!

So what’s to be done?

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