Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, by most accounts, is a nice guy; open, honest and a good hitter.
But he found himself sinking in a Twitter-sized quagmire this week after he let a slow start and some obnoxious fans bother him. [Thanks to my EMA colleague Peter Osborne for flagging it.] As Paul Daugherty wrote on cincinnati.com:
If you are Jay Bruce, you shouldn’t be reading tweets, not when you spent April hitting just one home run and had a league-leading 40 strikeouts. It’s a little like a 5-year-old playing with matches.
What happened when Bruce struck the match?
I appreciate all the tweets, good and bad, actually. You guys are what drive the game. I’m obviously not hitting as well as I’d like to, yet. I actually feel sorry for the people on here who feel that it’s necessary to try and put me down on twitter. It really just explains further who you are, and there are obviously things in your life that you’re unhappy about and you take it out on me via twitter. I suggest you look into talking with a life coach or something to help you get over whatever you have going on in your life. There is obviously a lack of something going on, and I hope you guys get it straightened out, because you all sound like idiots Everyone have a good night. Haha.
At 140 character per tweet, that’s about six or seven, which is a lot of work on a smartphone late, after Tuesday’s game. What Bruce said was pretty tame compared to some crisis-inducing athlete rants, and certainly less than [hockey players] physically going into the stands to attack fans, [football players] flipping off fans on the way down the stadium tunnel, or other forms of wish-I-hadn’t-done-that behavior athletes sometimes favor.
But as Osborne noted, it wasn’t news that fans were ripping Bruce; the news happened when he struck back on Twitter for all the world to see.
As Daugherty wrote, better than I:
It doesn’t matter that Bruce’s generalization isn’t entirely off point. It shouldn’t be irrelevant that his retort is warranted. It is, though. It is irrelevant. The so-called “social media’’ are made for jocks, who don’t want to deal with media heathens. They can say what they want, and to whom. It’s an a la carte presentation of who they’d like their fans to believe they are.
Social media are also a bomb waiting to go off. One detonated in St. Louis Tuesday, right in Jay Bruce’s fingertips.
The problem with social media – one problem, anyway – is that they’re not social at all. They promote a pseudo intimacy, from a safe distance. Ask Manti Te’o.
They’re perfect for people who want to release their Inner Snark, with absolutely no consequences. Not every Twit is a guy in mom’s basement, with a laptop, an opinion and a bag of Cheetos. It just seems that way.
Well put. Athletes already in crisis due to bad performance, not living up to their perceived contractual worth or in some sort of criminal trouble would do best to stay away from social media.
Or, be brief: “It’s May, I’m ready to break out of my slump. Thanks to my fans for sticking with me.”
Don’t tweet with twits.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.