So if you haven’t run across it, there was a certain school that tweeted all over their pants the other day. There are a couple things I want to hit here:
1) This isn’t the worst thing in the world, in fact it’s a great learning experience
2) I FULLY agree with 412 and his take: this was bad…at first
3) Twitter etiquette and proper social media use VERY MUCH DOES MATTER in the MCLA
OK, so for the first point, it is crucial to point out that cooler heads at Buffalo prevailed and apologies were quickly issued. The response has been classy on all accounts. Their Twitter account has been cleared of the tweets in question, and unless someone cached the pages or took screenshots, the only real evidence is the subsequent discussion on here. (And yes the discussion is helpful, bear with me)
Second, 412 is totally on point here in calling attention to this matter. If this was left to roam, then we’ve got a rogue tweeter who is going to continue to pick tweet-fights with random laxers and just give the Buffalo lacrosse team, the PCLL, and the MCLA a bad image. If he does it, then why can’t other teams accounts start doing it? I understand most wouldn’t because they are in more responsible hands, but many aren’t. Most MCLA Twitter accounts are created by social media-savvy minds that are undergrads on the team. If you are a coach or a player on a team: It’s 10PM, Do you know where your tweeter is?
So let’s pull this together: why does a random Twitter account in upstate New York matter? It’s a simple reason, and it applies to every MCLA team: You are representing the brand of your university or college. Just look at the profile page for @UBLax. What do you see? The icon is the University of Buffalo icon, unedited, in its original format. It’s not even adjusted to be a lacrosse specific logo. For the non-lacrosse fan, that is a University of Buffalo sanctioned Twitter account. It’s got the branding, the imagery, everything.
Am I advocating MCLA Twitter accounts use some sort of stripped-down imagery or branding? No of course not. It just raises the responsibility we have to our institutions we represent.
Trust me, it’s easy to forget. But you wanna know why Arizona State lost their season? Or any of the recent examples of programs being suspended? It is because as MCLA teams we are the outward projection of our institution and for many people the only interaction that some will have with that brand. It is the university’s responsibility to make sure we are behaving in a manner consistent with the school’s mission and values.
Granted, universities and colleges have very limited ability to police this sort of thing. But again, that just increases our responsibility to police ourselves.
This applies for all forms of social media: wesbites, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, whatever the heck the kids are using these days. Take this opportunity to discuss strategies for the types of messages you want to send out, and how to react in case the unforeseen happens. Take a lesson from @UBLax and take one from @JimRome as well: Twitter is a loaded gun.