Social media: The good, the bad and the twits

  • 12/01/2011

By Huw Beynon

Ryan Babel’s doctored image of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt has meant Babel has seen red himself.

But the moment of anger at Steven Gerrard’s sending off against Man U – then his subsequent ‘Twittermania’ and fallout from the brain explosion – is something more and more sport stars are having to deal with.

Sports stars all around the world are increasingly discovering the good... and the bad side of social media.

“Just a bit of common sense and should be absolutely fine,” says Rob Nichol. CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association.

His approach is a pragmatic one.

“It’s a public forum and it has to be treated that way but that doesn't mean you have to hide any humour or shy away from issues, I think its really positive sometimes for athletes to be out there and reveal a more personal side of them.”

The NZRU states in its employment agreement that players may maintain social media sites but all comments will be treated as public statements...

The number of Kiwi sports stars using Twitter is growing with All Black and Hurricane Cory Jane one of the most prolific. Jane uses Twitter to tell fans his movements, respond to their questions and make jokes, like one where he claimed Piri Weepu had been made Hurricanes assistant coach.

As everyone gets used to using applications like Twitter even us in the media get caught out as we endeavour to sort the fact from the fiction

Imagine if you will, a reporter picking up the phone after reading Jane’s tweet: “Hurricanes rugby? Huw Beynon here from 3news... just reading on Twitter that Piri Weepu has been made assistant mana... oh, it’s a joke? Oh, errr... yeah I (ahem) thought that. Bye.”

With the number of people or 'tweeps' following these stars or 'twits' increasing daily, sportsmen and women are becoming part of the online community.

“The sports stars I think I have a quite a unique opportunity with Twitter to reach out there and allow their fans to engage with them and allow their fans to find out what’s going on,” says Justin Flitter, a prolific New Zealand sports tweep.

And says the guidelines are unwritten, and are the same for everyone.

“Whether its offline at a bar or online on twitter they've got to uphold the same standards of behaviour and etiquette of what they can say and can't say. It’s just the same offline as it is online,” says Flitter.

So, if New Zealand sports stars continue to mind their P's and Q's then you could see more and more bidding for more followers.

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source: newshub archive