April 10, 2012

Social Media….Proving an Effect

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:08 pm

Supplied via Google Images

A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The perception of a brand by one’s peers can determine success or failure. Just ask Tiger Woods

Since image is everything today, necessary steps have to be taken to promote value. Similarly, steps also have to be taken not to hit rock bottom (a.k.a crisis management).

For athletic departments, a way to preserve the brand is through monitoring social media. The ease of distributing information to large sums of users is all too real for key stakeholders in athletic departments.

Major universities like North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma pay $7,000 to $10,000 a year to monitor student athletes online. In return, obscenities, offensive commentary and words like “free” are searched for online with the intention of informing universities to prevent incidents.

In 2010, the existence of social media became all too real when former North Carolina football player Marvin Austin posted a message on Twitter revealing that he was receiving impermissible benefits. That tweet resulted in a one-year suspension for Austin due to breaking NCAA amateurism rules.

In the N.C.A.A.’s statement about North Carolina’s punishment, it hinted that institutions should be tracking public information made available by student-athletes if there is a “reasonable suspicion of rules violations.” Due to this, some colleges now require athletes to give them access to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, either by downloading software to monitor them or simply requiring that they let a coach, an administrator or a third-party company “friend” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

From this, invasion of privacy rights have come forth. Due to this, University administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to their players’ activity on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant posting on Twitter or Facebook.

Hence, with the institutions brand on the line, should student-athletes be monitored online? Is it erroneous for colleges and universities to care about an image when Beer & Circus is occurring daily with normal undergraduates? Will future litigation be able to find the correct answer?



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