A recent story by the Columbia Missourian addressed the issue of athletes using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While most people probably don’t see using such networks as a big deal, it has become something that can actually play a roll on whether you play on the team, are dismissed/suspended, etc. But how hard is it exactly for a coach/team/school to monitor so many athletes?
The answer to that is through a system called UDilligence. What the service does is monitor athletes’ Facebook, Twitter and MySpace pages for over 400 words they find may be inappropriate. The service then notifies the school and they can take it from there. But is this a violate of the students’ right to free speech and the right to be a kid?
One thing that athletes, politicians and people in the public eye don’t seem to realize is that if you are in the public eye, expect to have every move you make magnified by EVERYBODY. If you want to be part of the face of the university’s athletics, be ready for people to check out your every move. This includes writing inappropriate/dumb statuses on Facebook and Twitter. There is no reason for anyone to use language that should not be used in any setting, but if you have so many people “following” you or being your “friend”, learn to tone it down a little.
If the rest of the world can be subject to firings or suspensions because of something we write or pictures that show us drinking or flashing gang signs, the question is why don’t we learn? Is it because people in today’s world continue to think that ‘oh that won’t happen to me”? Personally, I don’t know what is so hard to not swear in statuses or call people inappropriate names or take pictures of someone doing something stupid that can get them in trouble. It’s just common sense, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to resonate with many people.
Some players, such as Missouri’s Kim English, who is quite popular on Twitter, use the social networking site as a place to communicate with their fans. Other players like Evan Turner and even Shaq use it and want to keep in contact with their fans. English, however, is the only one that I remember shutting down his account during the season. Whether this is because of what his coach told him or he just felt it would be right, the account, which has been mentioned numerous times by Internet journalists as a great follow, was closed from December until the day after the season ended.
Maybe if more players did that, there wouldn’t be so many problems.