(And just a FYI, social networking sites will be a regular topic of discussion on my blog.)
This week, social networking sites continued to penetrate collegiate athletic programs. The latest "victim": The University of Georgia football team.
Here's the story from the NCAA Double-A Zone:
We all had to see this day coming. I'm sure the freshmen football players didn't intentionally set out to "spill the beans" of the UGA injuries. Rather, like the multitude of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace users, they just wanted to share what had happened to and/or around them during their day.
Two freshmen football players at the University of Georgia updated their Facebook accounts with news of injuries from that day's practice--injuries that coach Mark Richt decided to leave out of his reports to the media. The next day, reports of the injuries were circling through online message boards.
Injury reports, especially once game competition starts, are deliberately reported so as to limit the advantage an opponent may have concerning game strategy. Social networking has thrown a loop into the equation that coaches are forced to confront.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Richt has a blog on his Web site MarkRicht.com and a Twitter account. Perhaps embracing the new technology rather than rejecting it will be more effective in controlling the transfer of
And with how many and more media outlets are getting in tune with the social networking scene, it should come as no surprise that when "nuggets" of information such as injuries on a major college football program are posted by student-athletes on Facebook that the media will somehow find it and report it. After all, when the U.S. Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River, the news was first broke on Twitter.
For better or for worse, social networking sites are here, and I believe they are here to stay. The key for those in the media relations, sports information, coaching, corporate and other such professions is learning how to embrace the new "media outlet" without allowing it to control you and your message.
I certainly do not have all the answers, but step No. 1 is getting everyone in your organization on the same page and having them follow the same set of rules and guidelines. For businesses and corporations, this can be a relatively easy process. But when it involves student-athletes - whether collegiate or high school, the situation becomes not as simple.