Today's guest post from Lori Lewis reminds me of that “6 degrees of separation” meme. I know – in some way – all the players in this drama.
It all started a couple weeks back when Chicago sports radio loudmouth Dan McNeil was relieved of his duties on WSCR/The Score following a gratuitous, sexist tweet about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. Dan was once part of a morning show on WDRV, a station I consult. Yeah, I know the guy.
Then I get sports radio consultant Jason Barrett's promotional email, featuring a story by controversial sports radio host and journalist, Jay Mariotti. I don't know Jay personally, but back in the early '80s, one of his first sports reporting jobs was for The Detroit News. I believe that is where he began to find his voice. “To Tweet or Not To Tweet” reached the conclusion that Twitter is a time and brain suck – best used for promoting other assets, like shows or columns. As I mentioned earlier, I don't personally know Jay, but I've been reading his columns and listening to him for a long time now.
Of course, every year our Techsurvey reveals how sports fans live to be on Twitter – and the importance of engaging on that platform. But at Jason's great conference earlier this year in NYC (pre-COVID, of course), I got to watch one sports commentator after another talk about the combative nature of the genre – and not just the games athletes play – but the jousting that goes on between writers, show hosts, and the jocks themselves. It seems like everyone's taking shots at one another, and there's always a dispute brewing.
This felt like a blog topic about the value of social media to radio hosts – especially in the sports world. And then I quickly concluded that social media maven, Lori Lewis, should be the one to write it. Yes, Lori worked for Jacobs Media for several years, before joining Cumulus, and stepping out on her own in 2019.
True confession: So, I have a connection with the entire cast in this controversy, except for Maria Taylor. But I feel like I've gotten to know her a bit better since this all blew up.
Here's Lori's response to Jay – and perhaps everyone toiling away in sports radio today wondering whether social media is worth the effort – and the risk. – FJ
For well over a decade now, social media has offered the ability to congregate online, form communities, and have real-time dialogue; giving folks a bigger voice.
But with the freedom of ‘tweeting’ comes responsibility. And it should be no surprise if and when you are judged by others or lose jobs and opportunities because of your digital debris.
Earlier this month, you may have seen the headline we’ve seen all too often:
At this point – perhaps I’ve become numb to the storyline.
I didn’t write about it or have any real reaction over it.
But when Fred shared an article with me about that latest firing – I had a reaction I’ve never had before.
The author, Jay Mariotti, wrote, “Rather than pummel social media with non-stop postings — and lose a job for an inflammatory comment — media professionals should use Twitter only as a billboard for their work and try what I’ve done: downsizing.”
At first I wanted to defend social media.
I wanted to say his position doesn’t even make sense.
I wanted to say the essence of social media is not to push our content on them – but to raise our capacity to connect with and have actual (fun) back and forth with one other:
I wanted to say if you use social like a troll – you’re going to get trolled back. Everyday people now have a voice equal to radio talent – which is tough for mud slingers to accept.
I wanted to share what the true spirit of Twitter is all about – explained years ago by another sports personality/commentator:
I wanted to share the everyday humor that plays out every day in social media, helping us smile as we navigate through a pandemic and divisiveness:
But you know what?
Maybe Jay is right.
Get off social media.
Or worse – abuse it as a push platform; watch how well that works out.
For some reason, social media is often viewed as an “unrestricted playground.” Platforms have become a gateway for an increased lack of civility and greed, pushing their cybernated slop on us.
Yet impressions are formed every time we communicate socially.
The better advice is simple:
Don't get caught up in the heat of the moment.
We are walking around with “live mics” in our pockets.
Filters need to be on at all times.
It is not “social media's fault” when you do something inappropriate.
It defies logic to blame the platform. That’s like blaming the microphone when you say something unacceptable on the air.
Understand the implications of your words.
Stop using social as a push platform.
You create a self-involved, void of interaction reputation – which becomes fatiguing and forgettable.
If you can't keep social media in perspective, build discipline towards showing basic human decency online, enjoy engagement and find outside hobbies so you're not living on Twitter – you're right, get off social media.
Lori Lewis can help you make sense of your social media strategy. Contact her here.
Latest posts by Fred Jacobs (see all)
- Are We Having A “Social Dilemma?” - October 23, 2020
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- “The Future Doesn't Fit In The Containers Of The Past” - October 21, 2020