By: Tanner Lawrence
Most of us have been there. Being so infuriated or upset by something we immediately turn on our phone or open up our laptops and vent out through a tweet or a Facebook status that we later regret. Normal people like me have at least. Do I really mean normal? Average might be a better word. I’m just an average 21 year college student trying to reach graduation the best way I can and sometimes I put my frustrations out on the web. Ultimately, I regret even thinking about putting it out there for the social media world to see. Of course I go back and delete it with hopes that is has not reached very many people. A few retweets or a few shares later who knows who could be looking at it through another end. What if it was my future girlfriend and she sees Tanner Lawrence as being a hot-headed guy with a high temper? What if the future employer of my dream job spotted it and he remembers Tanner Lawrence as being immature and irresponsible.
With the extraordinary growth of social media it could be argued that it is more important now than ever to keep control of our personal brand. Our personal brand is what we are known for and what people seek us out for. That definition might be better for businesses rather than individual people but similar concepts apply. Our personal brand is what we are known for, what we stand for and basically represents the type of people we are.
As I said earlier, average people like most of us have tweeted or posted something on social media that, if not handled properly, could affect our own personal brand. However, we are not the only ones who are prone to, because of some kind of frustration, post something regrettable online. Professional athletes fall into this trap themselves sometimes. Just the other day I was scrolling through my Twitter feed on my phone. And I being a big Cleveland Browns fan follow many Browns players with hopes of feeling more connected to them. It was then when Phil Taylor’s tweet caught my attention.
The 25 year old defensive tackle from Baylor University tweeted something that I believe could have adverse effects on his personal brand, mainly because of timing. Taylor (@PhilTaylor98) tweeted:
He said this not even a week after the Boston Marathon bombing. With the courageous efforts of FBI agents and police officers, justice was able to find the suspects responsible, with one of them even being caught alive. I found the tweet insensitive, ignorant and ill-timed. Funny enough, Taylor actually deleted his original tweet before sending this one. That was only because he mistakenly used “theres” instead of “theirs.” He noticed something was wrong with his use of a word, but did not see anything wrong with the tweet in general.
Taylor would go on to interact with followers saying how it has nothing to do with the whole Boston situation and he is entitled to his own opinions. I’ll agree with Taylor that he is indeed entitled to his own opinions, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be rejected for it or it won’t affect his personal brand. To sort of put my feelings in football terms, he definitely missed the tackle with that tweet.
Now Taylor was not the first one to post something stupid on social media and he certainly won’t be the last. Athletes such as Stevie Johnson of the Buffalo Bills, Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United have all had a few blunders with some of the things they say online. The fallout from these mistakes could be limitless. Fines by team, fines by the professional league in which they are affiliated with, loss of fans and decrease in jerseys sold are just a few negative effects if athletes do not take a hold of their personal brand while on social media.
Social media is a powerful tool that everyone should be careful when taking advantage of. The limit of interaction we can use while using platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are capped only at what we make it. We are now closer to people even if they are thousands of miles away or in a different profession. Therefore, whether you are a CEO of a successful company, a defensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns, or a 21 year old college student at the University of Mount Union controlling your personal brand is critical while using social media. One bad tweet or post could send your life or career in a different direction, a direction that will probably be regretted later. So remember: THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET!