social media

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AUDIO: Kansas’ Bill Self reads, analyzes ‘mean’ tweets

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Thanks to social media, the process of reaching out to players and coaches is far easier now than it was back in the days when avenues such as Facebook and Twitter did not exist. While that opens the door for praise it also gives people the ability to send not so kind messages in the aftermath of a loss.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and his program were on the receiving end of some “mean” tweets following their loss at Iowa State Monday night, and the coach appeared on 610AM Sports Radio’s “Fescoe in the Morning” (Kansas City) radio show to read some of them beginning at the 22:50 mark of the above clip. Self (whose comments were recorded Thursday) also gave his thoughts on some of the comments, including making note of the fact that his team is trying to score too much on the perimeter as opposed to throwing the ball inside in response to a tweet that Self needed to “evolve his offense.”

It’s good to hear the coach having some fun with these, and there were likely comments that couldn’t be read over the air as well. But he also noted that Kansas is 16-4 overall and ranked 4th in this week’s AP poll, so the sky isn’t falling. Do they need to play better with No. 23 Kentucky visiting Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night? Yes, but there’s still a lot of basketball to be played.

Tennessee takes a different approach to players and social media

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Social media has been one of the biggest problems for athletic departments to tackle in recent years, as they decide how to deal with the wealth of information that players can disseminate through Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.

Jeff Eisenberg over at Yahoo! was the first to point it out, and it’s now clear that Tennessee is embracing the medium, rather than rejecting it.

Associate media relations director Tom Satkowiak has added players’ Twitter handles to the official roster, giving fans and media members the chance to follow along on social media.

Tennessee’s approach is education, not regulation, which should be the standard.

“I cringe every time I see a coach or program ban the use of social media,” Satkowiak told Yahoo!. “I think we should be educating guys on how to use it because it’s not going to go away. It’s a part of life now. We just need to educate them on how to use it right.”

One of the NCAA’s main rallying points is that most athletes will not go on to play sports professionally, so they ought to be prepared for when they leave college and enter the working world in another profession.

How many professions don’t use social media these days? You would be hard-pressed to find many.

For schools that decide to regulate, this now puts players out on a limb, uneducated about how social media can affect their lives, both positively and negatively.

As Eisenberg details in his story, Tennessee runs seminars where players are taught how to be responsible on the Internet.

“If I can teach guys to represent the school the right way and use social media as a branding tool for themselves, then it makes me more comfortable putting it out there,” Satkowiak told Yahoo!. “I know it’s a calculated risk since they’re 18, 19 years old, but we’ve tried to be as proactive as we can.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

If this were social media, Kansas would have won the national title

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Kansas may have come up short in the real national title game against Kentucky, but if we were measuring in social media, the Jayhawks would have brought home the crown.

According to research group Schwartz MSL, Kansas’ fanbase, in proportion, was the most tuned-in of any school in the country.

The formula goes like this: Take the total number of Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers, then divide it by the number of students that attend the school.

Schwarts MSL even set up a bracket, which you can see here, that plays out the entire Field of 68, as if it were based on social media.

Some surprises? West Virginia is an Elite Eight team, as is Memphis and Connecticut. Among the disappointments would be Florida State, who would lost in the Round of 32.

The 2010-11 champion of this social media bracket, Ohio State, is eliminated this year by No. 15 Loyola (Md.).

The Final Four would be Duke, Kansas, Memphis, and West Virginia, with Kansas over Duke in the title game.

Imagine that had played out: Kevin Jones carrying the otherwise-young Mountaineers into the Final Four, fighting with passionate Kansas.

On the other side, Duke would have avoided that Round of 64 upset loss to Lehigh and come to meet Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers.

We social media guys get called nerds sometimes, and maybe simulations like this don’t help our cause, but it’s pretty fun to take a look at.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_