Those on Twitter know it sometimes can be a great place for some playful banter amongst friends but is it OK for sports teams?
Take a look at this tweet after Game 1 LA Kings offend Canada with a tweet after winning game 1 as 8 seed against Vancouver Canucks. (Hat Tip to VancouverCanucks.com.au for tipping us this story)
To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you're welcome.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) April 12, 2012
We discussed it on Harftime, what do you think? It's a fine line but we're OK with the Kings tweet as long as it fits with the brand of the team.
When Trash Talk goes wrong
What about personal brands? When can you take trash talking or jokes too far?
Take a look at the problems that media personalities Doc Turf and Ralphy took on when they shared a poor joke during the Logies on Sunday.
Firstly Doc shouldn't have tweeted the joke & Ralphy drew more attention by commenting & retweeting it.
Ralphy tried to backpedal by deleting the tweet (kindly captured by @nonsensiblekate assume all tweets will be captured by someone) & distancing himself from the Doc's tweet. Find more samples of #digisportfail on our Pinterest board
If you are tweeting on behalf of your employer or work in the media before you tweet you need to think “will this be newsworthy?” It is the same advice we give to athletes, treat Twitter like a radio or TV interview.
I am not commenting on Chrissie Swan, just retweeted cos it was vaguely controversial.
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) April 15, 2012
But we can see you did tweet about it Ralphy, on Twitter much better to own up to your mistake & move on.
Journos deleting tweets & copping grief for poor taste jokes. Too bad AFL players don't have a paper to sensationalize it #shoeotherfoot
— Sean Callanan (@seancallanan) April 15, 2012
You do remember the Collingwood Twitter war?
HARF: Twelve minutes to 3:00 p.m. Sean Callanan our Digital Media Sports Guru is with us at sportsgeekhq. You can find him on just about any platform. Good day, Seany.
SEAN: Good day, Harf, how are you doing?
HARF: I’m doing well. I see you there in your Rangers t-shirt. You’re in a real playoff mode, obviously.
SEAN: I am, yes, it’s fired up there and the thing that’s fired up in the Western Conference is the LA Kings versus the Vancouver Canucks.
HARF: Well, it’s been a messy upset—3 , zip.
SEAN: The 3, zip, yeah, well, the Kings are the eighth seed and the Canucks are the one seed, but what has caused a bit of controversy is the way that the LA Kings have been tweeting throughout the series, so they’ve won game one and they tweeted to everyone in Canada except British Columbia, “You’re welcome.” So it’s effectively tweeting in the same way as Nelson on the Simpson’s would with the **radio HA-HA NOISE*** There we go; very good Jumper. And it had 13,000 re-tweets.
HARF: That’s a lot.
SEAN: That is a lot of re-tweets.
HARF: That is very funny from them. That’s just an Australian version of suffering in your jocks.
SEAN: It is a bit, and it is something that I guess everyone who’s trying to drive, you know, whether it’s the L.A. Kings or any of the sports teams, they’re going to figure out how much damage that they could do to the brand if they went a little bit too far. Through mine it was a just a little bit edgy.
HARF: That’s good.
SEAN: After they won game two they said apologies in advance; Kings win game 2. You know, so, again, they really fired up the Canuck’s fans, but you’ve got to think about what is the effect of the brain. I was talking to the guys at the West Coast Eagles before their game against the Giants and I said, “Look, most likely you’re going to win, but you don’t want to come across as overbearing, arrogant, bully. You just want to be reporting the facts. The fans will be jumping up and down that you’re way out in front, but you’ve got to be respectful of the opposition. You don’t want to be seen as belittling this new comer to the game.
HARF: Yes, that’s rapport.
SEAN: But, you know, in the fierce battle of playoff hockey, the last time I went to a hockey game was at Madison Square Garden. Thirty seconds in and the guy stands up and says, “Hit him with your stick.” And they did. They started to fight 30 seconds in between the Rangers and the Lightening. I think there was a few square ups happening there.
HARF: So, what it leaves to us I suppose is whether or not we will see, obviously, a little bit from the Kings is trash talk on Twitter from club to club.
SEAN: There’s a bit of that from player to player to a certain degree, but you know, and sometimes with the Melbourne Storm and the Canterbury Bulldogs we did a bit of a digital battle where we got them fighting effectively and firing up their fans and tracking things, and I had that playful banter going backwards and forwards so it didn’t really get down to the point of the Kings, but it does come down to brand protection. And that is as much for teams as it is for athletics and people in the media.
So, I don’t know if you caught up with the Logies and Doc Turf and Ralphy got themselves in a little bit of strife.
HARF: Yeah, a soccer fan had a little bit of detail about that.
SEAN: And you’ve got to be very careful what you might just do as a little joke—you know, a bad joke that Doc Turf did. Then Ralphy made it worse by re-tweeting it to everybody and having his own little say, and then they started copying it from left, right and center, and quite rightly so. You know there were people offended by it. They’ve got to realize if they’ve gone and said it, they’ve got to own up to it.
HARF: You own it.
SEAN: And, yeah, Ralphy just tried the sneaky ‘I’m going to delete the tweet and then distance myself and throw Doc Turf under the bus,’ when he really should have just said apologies, ‘I made an error,’ and move on, and to a certain degree, it would have just, you know, the twitter would have float on. But by not owning it and by not apologizing, there’s a few of the tweets out there that are holding onto it like a dog with a bone and you’ve just got to own up to it and move on.
HARF: But it can be used in a really positive fashion, and I mean the Kings have done a classy example here because, particularly in playoffs and the finals in other sports, it is a game of doggy-dog and it’s really not a civilized game so it’s not exactly a run off, but there is a chance for the banter to flow back and forth should the Canucks come out and win game two, say, or then all of a sudden there’s terrific interaction between the fans.
SEAN: Exactly, and the guys who are running it, social media kids, are trying to gauge that emotionality of the fans and build it up for the next game. So the guys of the Perth Wildcats have got a bit long layaway between game one and game two. The next game is game two on Friday.
HARF: Sold out in four minutes.
SEAN: Sold out in four minutes and they’ve just been outside for another 200 tickets that’s going to happen next door. But you know what they’re doing today, tomorrow and the next day is to get the fans super excited for Friday. And so they’re going to be running some stuff on Instagram and getting them engaged on Facebook and Twitter, and the idea is to get that backwards and forwards going. So you know it’s just something to be mindful of. You want to be getting all the fans excited.
HARF: Having worked in this space for a little while yourself and looking after a few of the clubs in this space would you encourage them to get a bit more edgy with some of this communication.
SEAN: Well it’s got to compete with your team and your brand. You know, so for potentially for Collingwood, they’re running this whole “us” against “them” campaign. So it fits for them to say now currently, you know, they’re not in a position to be bold and arrogant because they don’t travel that well. There’re enough things, but potentially they could start up a Twitter storm to maybe distract everybody from everything else that’s happening is another way of looking at it. But, yes, you’ve got to make sure it’s consistent with what your team represents. You can’t go out and do a bold claim like that like the Kings did if it doesn’t fit with your brand and what your message is.
If you have to apologize for it well then it’s going to get you in strife.
HARF: Not enough strife for mine in this. It’s good fun—strife.
SEAN: Well, we just had a text there. People are saying that Ralphy hasn’t gotten in trouble and one thing I did tweet if brand in Fevola or maybe a football or tweet at what those guys have tweeted might have got a bit of coverage in the Herald Sun.
HARF: Definitely would have.
SEAN: So, yeah, he has been lucky to get off, in this case. Maybe there should be a Twitter Match Review panel , and, you know, is it intentional, medium contact, low impact. We mentioned the re-tweets and then maybe he gets suspended for a week and doesn’t tweet. Maybe we should bring that in next week, Harf.
HARF: Who’s on the panel? Is KB on that committee?
SEAN: Oh, he’s on every committee. He has to be, and he’d spend the whole time sending—what it is his Twitter? What are his tweets?
HARF: But we know that’s never going to be as topical as it should—let’s use a current player—whose tweets are a bit, should Jack Riewoldt have tweeted that it would have been a whole different story.
SEAN: Exactly…exactly, and the thing is it doesn’t matter how many. I guess it shows the power of the re-tweet. It doesn’t mean how many people who are following you. If people either had re-tweeted because they agree or re-tweeted because they think it’s wrong more people see it, so a doctor was treating an Australian during the Logies because of that one tweet.
HARF: Was he really?
SEAN: And he probably thinks ‘Oh, I don’t have that many followers. I’ll just sign this to my mates, and, you know, he’s going to get himself a little bit of strife. So the thing is if you’re going to make a joke make a joke that you would make on radio. If you’re not going to make it on radio or if you’re not going to put it in print I wouldn’t be tweeting it.
HARF: That’s pretty sound advice. Sean thanks for coming in, mate.
SEAN: No worries mate.
HARF: You can check him out at @sportsgeekhq on pretty much everywhere. Just type it in. You’ll find Sean and the work he does—the great work he does—apparently for us here and 1116 at SEN and for some of the big sports clubs across the globe.