Social networking 101

"a special note to be careful or risk your reputation and future"

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MATTESON - It was officially reported by Yahoo Sports, that many NFL teams created fake profiles on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, in order to do some FREE, yet simple investigating into the characters of potential recruits and draft picks.

Social networking has exploded in to many different things for many different people. In fact several prominent professional athletes "twit" all of the time - Lance Armstrong and Shaq. Even further, major corporation now recognize that social networking is a valuable tool to reach millions with one click of a button. For example, Actor Ashton Kutcher ran a media blitz against CNN to see who can obtain 1,000,000 followers first on Twitter. Believe it or not, Kutcher won.

I digress, here is what sports organizations are doing. They will post attractive females on their profiles to lure twenty-something men to them... The pictures feature an attractive young lady kind of hugged up with a couple other girls, all presenting a warm, inviting smile and fabulous visual assets. So, at this point, you can kind of guess how it goes down from here... if the unsuspecting athlete accept them as an online friend and add them to their page, these organizations  then attempt to find out as much personal information as they can, from simple likes and dislikes of life, to even more personal conversation dealing with sex, drinking, and of course, partying.

According to Yahoo Sports, this might seem like an invasion of privacy to some, but NFL teams say that if they are about to invest millions of dollars in a player coming out of college they want to make sure they are making the right decision. "Twenty years ago, if you weren't getting a lot from a [college team's] coaching staff or a family, you might put weeks into gathering good information on a couple guys," a personnel source said. "Now, we can do a lot of it in a few days. We can sit down with 20 guys that we might be looking at, and have a pile of pictures and background things to hit them with. And every once in a while you come across something that probably saves you from making a big mistake."

Quick notes to keep in mind while on Social Networks.....

•Choose your profile pictures wisely.
The primary picture you post in your Facebook account should be generally wholesome and proper. It doesn’t necessarily have to be
a professional image, but you should avoid questionable poses and lurid images. It’s no comparison to the shock that an employer
gets when he sees you stoned, wasted or clad in women’s clothing.

•Be cautious of the pictures and comments you post.
If you allow everybody to view your profile, be careful of the pictures and comments you post on your wall. Always do an inventory
of the things you want to post and make sure they won’t cause any damage on your professional career. It’s always best to keep
everything clean so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

•Do not divulge too much personal information.
Some Facebook users make the mistake of putting every bit of personal information into their account from their sexual
preferences, to their political views, as well as religious beliefs. While this may be a good thing if you’re looking for the
perfect lifetime partner, this may set the grounds for discrimination issues if employers want to hire you.

•Refrain from talking negatively on your Facebook account.
Whether you love to trash talk your previous employer or you’re having a word war with your ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend or you just
like to express yourself through expletives, employers see this as regressive behavior that is not good for the company. They want
someone who’s got the right attitude to produce results and you just missed your chance when you’ve done these things.

We do encourage you to connect with people online, including Amateur Sports via social networking sites, but just be careful folks and realize that anyone can read your conversations as well as begin investigating you and your behavior!!!

LATEST (Jan 2011) SOCIAL NETWORK ALERT: Top recruit living the social network nightmare... click here for the story!

Let me take this a step further... even human resources personnel are admitting that they search social networking portals to find out more information on candidates.

Here are several current issues surrounding this subject that you should take a minute to read (just click on any topic below):

A Recruit’s Friend, a Team’s Fan and a Headache for Colleges... Why try to control the uncontrollable? Open communication is best.

ESPN HOT TOPIC,2933,509406,00.html facebook-while-sick-gets-fired

So, I guess it is highly recommended to monitor your activities on these sites because one wrong phrase, even in joke can be mis-interpreted, and turn the light out on your dreams.

NOTE: Here is the NCAA stance on Twitter ~click here.

ADDITIONAL READING: Here is a good article from the folks over @ check it out!

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