Oh! Well, hello there, random sports celebrity person. Glad to have you with us on these here interwebz. Unfortunately, however, your journey into the netheregions of the GoogleTubes isn’t as easy as, say, your grandparents’.
No, in fact, yours is the most perilous of all ventures, because your reputation as a public figure will hinge primarily on how you behave in front of the world’s collective set of uber-creepy eyeballs.
And that’s Helpful Sports Celebrity Social Media Lesson No. 1:
We’re Always Watching
Provided that you’re someone of even mildly relative importance (read: anyone more famous than D-List Queen Jenn Sterger; seriously, semi-fame + fake boobs should equal AT LEAST 5,000 followers) the entire free world will be watching you. When you tweet something, people will see it. When you update your Facebook status, people will know.
Even if, like Antonio Cromartie, you’re only really passionate about the quality of your franchise’s cafeteria food, pleased be advised that at all times you’re being watched. Saying something offensive/dumb can/will cost you cash money.
And when you post a blog on your Myspace account, people will — haha. No, I’m just kidding. No one uses Myspace anymore. In fact, that’s our next tip:
Don’t Bother With MySpace
Unless you’re Tila Tequila, some hipster/indie band, or that creepy-looking Tom dude, there’s no reason to be on MySpace. Telling your fans/friends/family that they should “check out your Myspace blog” is like saying “email me at email@example.com” — it’s only going to end up with people wondering why you’re still kicking it in 1992. (Hypothetical answer: Because you’re THE BOMB, OBVI!)
Twitter, on the other hand, is an absolute necessity. It allows you to communicate with your fanbase — or whoever — directly, but without having to expound too deeply on what the hell you’re thinking. Which, frankly, may be nothing. The content is irrelevant for the most part though; the notion of interacting with famous people is what drives your average bored person at work with a Twitter account to continually watch what you’re doing.
That being said …
Think Before You Tweet
There are many instances, particularly in the domain of athletics, where celebrities just spout off at the handle on Twitter. Chad Ochocinco and Chris Johnson are good examples, but in a fun and interesting way. Johnson, for example, told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen that “stevie wonder must B doing the unofficial times” for the 40-yard-dash at the Combine.
That, folks, is a perfect example of an off-the-cuff, witty, humorous and non-harmful social media interaction. On the other hand, we have someone like Larry Johnson, who dropped the following two gems on his now-extinct Twitter account a few months ago:
Shockingly, LJ got suspended for his actions and is no longer on the Kansas City roster. Although, of course, calling a reporter a “faggot” within the same week of calling out his coach doesn’t help, but the alleged slur is at least hearsay … when you post something on Twitter, it’s there forever.
Just like …
Pictures: They Can Be Saved
This is obvious to most people. Including even Ray Allen, who thought it fun to all but the dumbest of amateur athletes willing to post photos of themselves holding huge bags of unmarked cash bills. Or Michael Beasley.
It’s not like the majority of websites particularly care about photo attribution or intellectual property rights when Twitter is involved, and — legally — they may not have to. If a public figure slaps a picture up on the internet for his/her hundreds of thousands of followers to see, guess what: it’s public domain.
So before you go flashing off your new tats, make sure and move your weedpipe out of the way in the background, m’kay?
(Also worth noting: your social media actions themselves aren’t safe from this either — that’s how LJ’s Tweets and racist commentary about the President by a Texas lineman on Facebook are still visible, despite being deleted.)
Ustream + Automobiles = Very Obvious Result
It’s not difficult to comprehend our parents’ confusion at something like UStream; Lord knows that the YouTubes get them mixed up enough (my own mother commented once on “how fun your YouTubeBlog was to watch” without knowing what the hell she was saying).
But you would THINK that it’s inherently obvious to anyone under 35 who has even a modicum of sense if you decide to take a camera that is streaming live video and stick it in a car, something bad will happen. Sometimes it’s getting busted for speeding by the police. And then sometimes it’s getting in a wreck because you’re 100% certified batsh*t crazy and the only one driving the car.
Either way, the result SHOULD be obvious: nothing good happens.
Blocking is for Bitches
For some bizarre reason, Bill Simmons (meta-media-celeb!) has blocked myself and many other sports bloggers from following him on Twitter. Or maybe it’s about a certain level of expectations for people who are, by the nature of their work, in the public eye — if someone’s stalking you or threatening you, spamming you, or funneling expletive-laced tirades your way, by all means, keep them from reading what you’re saying and responding.
But if you’re someone who likes to throw your opinions around without actually having to deal with any sort of response from the rest of the free world, well, perhaps you should just consider sticking with a column that doesn’t allow comments. (Although in Simmons’ case, maybe it’s entirely possible that he can’t keep himself from spouting off and getting in trouble.)
Jail: Don’t Tweet It
Now, no one can actually get on Twitter from jail. Insofar as I know anyway. However, people like Donte Stallworth and Weezy have been involved in high profile legal proceedings are headed to prison, respectively, yet … they continue to Tweet. It’s understandable that someone in their situation would want to right wrongs, etc., etc. but it’s a little insulting to those of us still stupid to follow them (for “journalistic purposes,” natch) because, well, we know what you did.
Take it in stride, stop churning out 140-character messages — even if they’re motivational/happy/whatever — and make sure to bang out whatever debt you owe to society before flooding the internet-waves with the thoughts that are streaming through your potentially steroid or weed-addled brain.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
This means your friends, your family, your ladyfriend(s) and your PR agency. Daniel Artest and Brian Cuban are two fairly prominent social media siblings (of Ron and Mark, respectively), at least in terms of quantity.
But there are lots and lots of other family members out there on social media outlets — they’re not even considered remotely a big deal until they decided, like Larry Fitzgerald’s brother, to start writing down things that their famous sibling texted them about Kurt Warner … in the middle of a game.