Today, we’re bombarded with screenshots of people who have failed on social media. My mom used to say, “never miss an opportunity to learn from a mistake.” Let’s take a look at five lessons from bad tweets that may help you avoid a misstep. Athletics version.
1. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You may need to find another source of food. (Don’t tweet when you’re angry) Freshman basketball player D.J. Gardener from Mississippi State was kicked off the team for a series of profanity-laced angry tweets after he was redshirted in 2011. Even if we use profanity in our everyday life, it’s a good idea to refrain from it in public.
2. What’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. Ryan Spadola, a white All-American football player from Lehigh got suspended during the 2012 NCAA FCS national playoffs for this smack talk about opponents. Lehigh lost the playoff game he missed and their quest for a national championship ended. This incident came under scrutiny from players who said it was common for athletes to use “the n word” when talking smack about each other. Lehigh consequently held a series of discussions on campus about “derogatory racial language and its impact.”
3. What happens in the locker room (or Vegas) stays in the locker room. Football player Marlon Williams (Texas Tech) got his social media privileges revoked for this insider information. Everybody doesn’t need to know everything.
4. Don’t tweet lines from rap songs. Remember your wider audience. John Bohannon, a University of Texas-El Paso student-athlete got into hot water here but claimed he was just retweeting a line from Z-Ro. This is a classic case of not understanding who your audience is. Either he doesn’t understand that or he tweets “stream of consciousness,” which is always a bad idea.
5. When taking pictures and posting online, always be sure of what is in the picture.
Take a look at the yellow box.
When some FBS football players took this picture at a recruiting party, they forgot to crop out the bong before posting it online. Oops. I could go on, but I won’t. You get the idea. These sorts of screenshots are all over the internet. If nothing else, they help us understand that even though you delete something, it is never gone. All five of these examples were deleted soon after being posted online. And it didn’t take much time to find them.
Bottom line: Think before you tweet.