Big Brother is watching

Watch what you say, student-athletes!

If you’re a student-athlete Tweeting these days, know that more than your list of followers is reading along with your feed of posts.

For some universities looking to avoid the public relations nightmare that comes with Athletes Gone Wild On Twitter, companies such as UDiligence have stepped in to help lend a hand.

Along with other services like it, UDiligence monitors student-athletes’ ramblings on Facebook and Twitter to ensure there’s nothing controversial coming from them. When a certain word is posted, it triggers UDiligence’s alarm system, which in turn notifies the university and student-athlete of the danger.

According to one university, both administrators and athletes alike have seen the value of the service.

“We love it,” said Shalena Brown, scholastic supervisor at Texas A&M. “We have had it for two years now and our athletes were a little hesitant at first, but when they warmed up to the idea of UDiligence looking out for them they began to love it as well.”

This doesn’t seem like anything but a waste of money to me, though. Twitter offers the ability to retweet posts near-instantaneously, and once a student-athlete hits “send,” the damage is done.

Coincidentally, the Maryland men’s basketball team has one of the smarter rules out there. (At least when it comes to social media. Winning? … Eh, not so much.) Coach Gary Williams bans Twitter use during the season and bars players from Facebook after 10 p.m. There’s no need for damage control because there’s hardly a chance to wreak it.

Student-athletes have responsibilities, and when coaches think those burdens might be too much to carry, bans like Williams’ are good stand-ins. There are compliance officers at every university, so it just strikes me as wasteful for some to spend money on carrying out a duty they seemingly should be responsible for.

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5 Responses to Big Brother is watching

  1. This is a great idea. It’s another way of enforcing the seriousness of the sport and team unity as well. I know Michael Oher from the Ravens was fined earlier this year for posting a tweet from the sideline during a game. Does the NFL have any type of system similar to UDiligence or is it just for college athletes?

  2. I never knew about Gary Williams policy, but now it makes sense why I couldn’t find the Maryland Basketball team on Twitter.

    Aside from that, I completely agree with you. If using Twitter and Facebook is so dangerous to a team that they need to be supervised when using it, then they just shouldn’t be allowed to use it at all. Student-athletes get treated like royalty all over the nation. They get priority living, they pick classes first, and lets not forget many of them come here for free. Everything that these student-athletes get are privileges, and if having those privileges brings some minor restrictions then so be it. Don’t waste money on supervising services, just don’t let the students use the social networking sites during the season.

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  4. emilyblum says:

    This is definitely an instance of “big brother” keeping a close eye on student athletes. While the idea of UDiligence freaks me out a bit a first, it makes sense. Even though college athletes are public figures they’re also college students prone to saying stupid things from time to time. Except, unlike college students, they have to worry about offending someone and harming their team’s reputation. I guess it’s okay to give up a little free speech to save yourself from all the flack you’d catch from the media, your coach, and the public if you tweet something stupid late on a Friday night.

  5. jonboduch says:

    I think people lose touch of the point that everything they put on the internet has a good chance of getting out there. Despite any privacy policies a company claims to have, if it’s on the web a person with enough know-how can probably get to it. This site seems like a waste of money because it comes post-humorously from the description and tweets are instant. I feel like by the time the tweeter read the email the post would already be out there and retweeted and snapshot-ted to its full damaging potential. Great analysis

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