It’s been a great week for name checks of Twitter in the UK mainstream media. First, England cricketer Kevin Pietersen vents his frustration at being dropped from the T20 squad through his Twitter account, swiftly followed by a rant from Hampshire player Dimitri Mascarenhas when he was also overlooked by the selectors. This Twitter storm has been picked up in every sports bulletin on broadcast outlets, and pushed around the home news and sports pages of the print media ever since.
Both men have now apologised, but you have to ask ‘Who is advising these guys on social media?’ Why is it that no-one has got through to them that these platforms are equivalent to standing on the pitch doing a live TV interview after a big match. Would they swear then? Would they air their grievances with the selectors to the massed viewers? No, they would not.
Some basic training in what Twitter is, and how to use it would stand these sporting celebrities in good stead. Here are five simple tips to get them started.
1. Everyone is listening – don’t think that what you say on Twitter won’t be analysed just as closely as in other forms of media.
2. Pause for thought – the written word can come across more brutally than verbal communication. Pause, read your words again, how will they land?
3. Add value – focus on the value you can bring to Followers, you’ve got great access to the inner sanctum of elite sport, share it!
4. Get your head right – don’t Tweet when you’re angry (and certainly not when you’re drunk!). Of all people athletes should know the importance of positive psychology for top performance.
5. Build an authentic personal brand – Twitter provides a chance to show the ‘real you’ without the distortions of the mainstream media. Make the content authentic and interesting, and you’ll build following.
The irony is that by continuing to drop the bat in this way (sorry!) these stars are risking their governing bodies banning the use of platforms like Twitter. This is only going to hurt the game, their team and mostly the individuals. Twitter gives sportsmen and women a great platform to have their voices heard, build their personal brand, and connect with fans. This will bring them value, opportunities and win-win relationships as social media continues to grow in importance.
Let’s get the fans talking about KP for the right reasons – his genius shots like this one.
What do you think?
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