It’s been a whirlwind this week. After a few MLB players had old tweets that surfaced, our CEO, Lauren Walsh, was interviewed by The Associated Press. Once the AP released the article, it spread like wildfire. The Huffington Post picked it up, as well as the Chicago Tribune and MSN.com. Before we knew it Lauren was being interviewed live on CNN and then in the WBEZ studios for a discussion on NPR’s All Things Considered. In case you missed it, we have compiled a list of our key takeaways.
Before we jump in, let’s address the typical objection by players, teams, and agents: I’M NOT OBJ. WHO CARES WHAT I PUT OUT THERE?
You think it will never happen to me. I mean, who will really take the time to go back and see what I tweeted in 2011? Well, ask Josh Hader, Sean Newcomb, and Trea Turner. It happens. And usually, it happens in your “shining moment.” Most fourteen year olds aren’t thinking about how a tweet will come to light ten years down the line when they are playing a sport on national television. Like I said, we get it. But, that same tweet from your fourteen year old self can cost you your reputation (not to mention millions of dollars). So instead of taking your chances, why not get ahead of, and build yourself a sort of “insurance policy” for your brand?
#1: Define your values and understand your personal brand.
Human beings are not stagnant. Our beliefs and ideas are constantly evolving, but there are core values that never change. Find them. Dig deep and find what you believe to be the fundamentals of who you are and what you believe in. What is your why? Why do you literally get up in the morning? Then make that the center of your personal brand. Figure out your true character, and make sure that is being clearly represented in every single thing you say, do, and of course, tweet.
#2: Clean things up as soon as possible.
If you are reading this and you are a professional athlete, STOP READING THIS, GO TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA, AND CLEAN IT UP (or call us, we’d love to help). If you know younger athletes, encourage them to do it as early as possible. Again, you’re probably going to get the typical objection that we see, but there is a method to our madness. As we have seen, things generally don’t come out until players finally get their shot, and by then it’s too late. The damage has been done. And unfortunately, they now will be remembered for some old social media posts as opposed to the impressive feat they conquered or record they broke.
#3: Everything on the internet lives forever.
True, but you can only control what you can control - yourself. However, it is important to evaluate if there are other people out there who have “dirt” on you. Really think back. Past relationship? Old teammate? Put a plan together. The reality is that you can only control what you can control, and that is you. So delete what you can, and then be prepared in the event anything was to ever come out from someone else’s content.
#4: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
We all remember this one from back in the day. It’s simple. But true. There is enough hate and negativity in the world, and you don’t need to add to it. We’re all sick of the trolls. Don’t jump on their bandwagon. As a professional athlete you are a role model for the next generation and you need to represent yourself as such and act accordingly.
#5: Understand the power of your platform.
You need to educate yourself on how to use social media in a positive way. As a professional athlete social media is a powerful platform that allows players to connect with fans, have a voice, humanize themselves, and earn income off the field/court/ice/etc. With that being said remember to know what you’re talking about. Use your voice effectively. And of course, have fun.