My podcast co-host, Tony Pittman (@tonypittman), shared a link with me.[1. Listen to our podcast when we record live next week, to hear Tony and me discuss this topic, and other tech and life related issues. Â We are LIVE at http://tinychat.com/realtech Tuesday nights at 9PM eastern Time, and available ON DEMAND through http://rtfrp.com] Â The headline read “Butch Davis bans Twitter at UNC.” Reading further, I learned that:
…players are forbidden from using the popular microblogging service.
The decision follows at least two instances where players were told to take down Twitter posts.[2. Â Interesting question: Â will get a take-down notice from AP? Â I have quoted 1.5 sentences from their story. Â But the story is only 6 sentences long. Â is 25% too much? Â Did I add enough “commentary” to avoid their ire?]
My first reaction was “Wow! Â Banning the use of a personal tool, on a personal phone or computer–that seems a bit Draconian!” Â Then I started wondering what I would suggest instead. Â After a little thought (very little) I decided this–he should take the same approach that I have had with my children.Football players are taught, or at least trained, to have discipline on the field, and in their practiceÂ regimen. Â They must learn daily to control their urge to run over someone, to rush to a position, and rather hold their place, watch the play unfold, and then react.
Twitter (and life) isn’t that much different.
This was a “teachable” moment. Â The coach (at the college level) is a teacher, a mentor–a COACH. Â Take this as an opportunity to remind the players of important life lessons:
- Their words and their actions have consequences.
- They need to learn self-discipline as well as football discipline.
- They need to understand that what is said on twitter (or Facebook, or even a blog like this one) will take on a life of its own, and perhaps spiral well beyond the few people you thought you were talking with at the time.
Banning them from using Twitter teaches them nothing. Â They don’t learn how to engage in a social (network/media) setting. Â They don’t learn self discipline.
They don’t learn life lessons that they will need once they are off the field.
Sorry Coach–you lose this game. Â And unfortunately this is the only game that matters–the game of life!