Social media offers the opportunity for people to gather in online communities of shared interest and create, share or access content.
Regardless of whether or not you have chosen to be an active user of social media, there is no denying that the use of social media is now mainstream and that the world is becoming a much smaller place as a result.
Sporting organisations have been steadily growing their social media presence over the years and are using it for a variety of purposes, including communicating with the various stakeholders and marketing.
Individuals within sport, including athletes, coaches, officials, spectators or others, are using social media for personal use. Sometimes these individuals will use social media to communicate information related to sport and/or express their opinions related to their experiences with sport.
In addition to this, some of these individuals will provide the “voice” for their sporting organisation as an administrator of the “official” social media presence for their sporting organisation.
The public nature of social media leaves little room for errors when using this technology. As a result, the news is littered with simple social media errors that could have been easily avoided with an understanding of social media policy.
Over the years there have been numerous high profile incidents where social media has been used by members of sporting communities to facilitate anti-social, inappropriate, abusive, racist, threatening and even illegal behaviour and activities. These types of activities have caused distress to individuals and groups of members and some have even resulted in long-term damage to the reputation of either the sport and/or the individuals involved.
In addition to this, there have been many incidences that, while they have not been high profile, have caused similar issues. This highlights the need for the development of robust social media policies within sporting organisations to reduce the likelihood, frequency and severity of these incidences.