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Social Media. 1. VISION “Our vision is to help you achieve yours” MISSION “We educate, advise, consult, facilitate and innovate to help organizations achieve their full potential”. 2. Centre for Sport and Law 3. Some clients. Outline. What is social media? (Brief!)

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centre for sport and law www sportlaw ca

“Our vision is to help you achieve yours”


“We educate, advise, consult, facilitate and innovate to help organizations achieve their full potential”


Centre for Sport and


Some clients


What is social media? (Brief!)

Social media for organizations

Defamation, libel, privacy

Social media in the coach-athlete relationship

Communication + knowing your athlete

Policies? Guidelines?




Social media is huge

  • What is social media? (Briefly!)
    • Computer-mediated communication (CMC)
      • Text-messaging and instant-messaging too!

The main ones (for today)


 Facebook

Flickr 

 YouTubeTwitter 

the power of social media2
The “power” of social media


  • “If our organization’s message could be shared across hundreds of social media websites… then countless people would hear our message!”


  • “Power”
social media use should be part of your strategy
Social media use should be part of your strategy


  • Most organizations have a communications or strategy document.
  • How does your organization’s strategy involve social media?(It is okay if it doesn’t !)
wheelchair basketball canada s plan for social media
Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s plan for social media


  • Involves
    • #1 – an objective (expand core audience)
    • #2 – a strategy (utilize social networking opportunities)
    • #3 – an audience (everyone online)
    • #4 – tools & tactics (facebook, blog)
    • #5 – timeline (asap)

Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s plan for social media


  • References to social media use can be found throughout Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s communications strategy
    • Raising awareness of athletes
    • Communicating with internal stakeholders
    • Promote teams
  • But there is more that could be done…

What are some of the things our organization wants to do – or do better?

  • Attract new members
  • Distribute information
    • Announce results
  • -- ?
  • -- ?
  • -- ?

How can social media help our organization do these things?


StatusWheel: An Organization’s Social Media Presence


No Presence






StatusWheel: An Organization’s Social Media Presence


  • Dead: quit, no people, no dedication
  • Lost: can’t figure out a purpose, no consistency, hope something helps
  • Contributing: useful additions, decent consistency, no specific strategy for return
  • Earning: valuable additions, frequent interactions, specific strategy with clear results

Five Steps Toward Earning


  • #1 - Dedicated person
    • Strong communicator
    • Reflects on organization
  • #2 - Multiple-media initiatives (Content !)
    • - A relevant blog
    • - Twitter
    • - Facebook
    • - YouTube / Flickr

Five Steps Toward Earning


  • #3 - Goals/objectives in mind
    • On message
    • Know your role
  • #4 - Freedom to be reflexive within organization’s social media policy for internal use
    • Empower employee
    • Know the law

Five Steps Toward Earning


  • #5 - What do results look like?
    • Engagement
      • Active vs. Passive
      • Not the number of ‘followers’ or ‘friends’!
    • New business
    • Intangible connections to the organization
    • Accomplishing objectives



    • Defamation
      • Libel
  • Privacy
    • In pictures and videos
    • CONSENT!
    • On Facebook?

The LAW - Defamation


  • Defamation
    • Defamation is considered to be false and derogatory remarks about a person that serve to discredit his or her character and lower his or her standing in the eyes of a reasonably-thinking person.
    • Defamation common law protects reputation – not feelings
    • Each province has different laws about defamation – written (libel) and oral (slander)

The LAW - Defamation


  • Defamation
    • The defamatory remarks are false and malicious
    • The person’s actual reputation has been defamed – not the alleged reputation the person feels he or she enjoys
    • The defamatory remarks are clearly aimed at the person and not to broad group that may include the person
    • The defamatory remarks are hurtful (a judge will decide)
    • The defamatory remarks are conveyed to a third person and, for libel, they are published.

The LAW – Defamation Examples


  • Defamation examples
    • Councilor Bob Smith steals money from the City of Toronto
    • Rogers Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs
    • “if head referee Jennifer Fletcher hadn’t accepted the other team’s bribe… we would have won!”
  • Not defamation examples
    • Councilor Bob Smith has a big nose
    • The Toronto Blue Jays are losers
    • “if head referee Jennifer Fletcher wasn’t so bad… we would have won!”

The LAW – Defamation Defenses


  • Defamation defenses
    • The defamatory remarks were accurate
    • The person agrees with the remarks (by reposting them)
    • The remarks were part of qualified privilege because they were conveyed honestly and non-maliciously (e.g., a negative but honest job reference)
    • The remarks were part of fair comment (i.e., they are an honestly held opinion based on proven fact and communicated without malice)
    • Publishing an apology is not a defense – but it might help when a judge determines damages

The LAW – Privacy


    • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. This is a federal privacy law. Provinces have their own privacy laws as well.
    • Some personal information should never be published (detailed contact info, SIN, credit card number) but other personal information requires consent before publishing (names, pictures, videos)
    • Information collected must be used for the purpose(s) it was collected. There must be informed consent.
    • Parental consent is required for use of the personal information of minors

The LAW – Privacy



    • 'Participating in <org> competitions means that the athlete may be filmed or photographed by <org> or its representatives during competition or events incidental to competition.  Agreeing to participate in <org> tournaments means that these videos or images of the athlete may be used and published by <org> for its own purposes (including but not limited to: pictures on the <org> website, pictures in <org> publications, videos in rules clinics and workshops, and videos on the <org> website and/or YouTube channel) with the consent of the athlete and/or the consent of athlete's parent or legal guardian (if the athlete is younger than 18 years old) and without payment to the athlete.  Pictures and/or videos created in this manner remain the property of <org>.  The athlete and/or the athlete's parent or legal guardian (if the athlete is younger than 18 years old) may revoke this consent at any time.'

The LAW – Privacy

On Facebook… ?


  • I coach a team of 12 athletes. Do I need permission from all of them to publish a team photo on my personal Facebook page?
  • Would it be different if the athletes were eight-years-old?
  • Can my organization make me remove the picture?
  • Is my Facebook profile my private space?

The LAW – Privacy

On Facebook… ?


  • Facebook, and twitter and everything social media, isn’t completely regulated yet. That’s one reason why we hear so much about lawsuits in the news relating to social media. It’s topical and not well-defined.
  • People aren’t sure of the boundaries and the ‘best practices’ for use are evolving
  • Be wary of anyone who wants to set rules and regulations restricting or limiting contact on social media. This person likely has a limited knowledge of social media and is not sure how to manage any of the perceived ‘dangers’ of the media. A much better process is education and empowerment.
social media in the coach athlete relationship


Social Media in the Coach-Athlete Relationship
  • Communication
  • CMC
    • Text
    • IM
    • Facebook / Twitter
  • Can coaches and athlete be friends on Facebook?


Martens, R. (1987). Coaches guide to sport psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.



  • Communication
    • Face-to-face
    • Telephone
    • Email
    • Text message
    • Instant message / BBM
    • Facebook (chat, wall post, message)
issues with computer mediated communication cmc


Issues with Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)
  • Clarity
    • “You looked really good out there today.”
  • Role Ambiguity and Credibility
    • “One of the boys”
    • Hyperpersonal
      • Say things online that you would not normally say face-to-face. There is no ‘sober second thought’.
knowing your athletes


Knowing your athletes
  • “[There is nothing] more important for coaches than to understand their athletes” (Vealy, 2005, p. 52).
  • “High levels of closeness (e.g., like, trust, respect) tend to promote exchanges of information, open channels of communication and disclosure” (Jowett & Poczwardowski, 2007, p. 21).
  • “The perceived dangers of a ‘non-friendship’ coach-athlete relationship is that it would be so cold and formal that coaches would not be able to coach effectively” (Bergmann Drewe, 2002, p. 178).

Bergmann Drewe, S. (2002). The coach-athlete relationship: How close is too close? Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 29, 174-181.

Jowett, S., & Poczwardowski, A. (2007). Understanding the coach-athlete relationship. In S. Jowett & D. Lavallee (Eds.), Social Psychology in Sport (pp. 3-14). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Vealey, R.S. (2005). Coaching for the inner edge. Morgentown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

knowing your athletes1


Knowing your athletes
  • How better to know your athletes than to communicate with them in the media in which they prefer to communicate?
  • Do teenage athletes ever use a ‘home phone’ anymore? How would an athlete perceive a coach who insisted on communicating via that medium?
    • Out of touch
    • Doesn’t know me – doesn’t care
    • Doesn’t understand my needs
on facebook


On Facebook…
  • Every coach should be prepared to answer questions about their personal guidelines when it comes to coach-athlete interactions on Facebook
  • Every organization should address the use of social media in their Code of Conduct(s) for coaches (and possibly for athletes too)
on facebook1


On Facebook…
  • For coaches… personal guidelines
    • Not necessarily written
    • Standard and consistent
    • Transparent
on facebook2


On Facebook…
  • For organizations… pertaining to coaches and athletes
    • Written communication guidelines
    • Not policies
    • Empowering
      • Coaches are trained and certified to be professional
    • Educational
on facebook the biggest challenge


On Facebook… the biggest challenge
  • Viewing illegal or irresponsible conduct
  • If parents look the other way… can coaches? Should coaches?
authority relationships


Authority Relationships
  • Employer-employee relationship
  • Parent-child relationship
  • Teacher-student relationship
  • Generational divide
  • Worldview differences
policies ban facebook


Policies – Ban Facebook?
  • If we are worried about inappropriate coach-athlete behaviour… then punish the behaviour… don’t blame the medium.
policies set by organizations for coaches and athletes


Policies – Set by organizations – for coaches and athletes ?
  • Making rules about communication is not the same as making rules about drug use, competition structures, or athlete transfer agreements.
  • Imagine telling your coaches that they can’t call an athlete after 9:00pm, on Sundays, or on the athlete’s cell phone.
  • Illegitimate policies would be immediately rejected by the people whose activity you are trying to restrict.
  • Especially since ‘social media’ is still evolving. A ‘social media policy’ would need to be updated at every board meeting.
sample guidelines for coaches


Sample guidelines for coaches
  • Be consistent in your use of Facebook with athletes. If you accept one athlete as your Facebook friend – you must accept all of your athletes
  • Don’t pressure athletes into befriending you on Facebook
  • Interact with your athlete when invited to do so; for example by replying to an athlete’s comments on your personal pictures
  • Limit initiating contact on Facebook. Limit wall posts. Avoid commenting on an athlete’s personal pictures.
  • Ensure that parents are aware that some coach-athlete interactions may take place on Facebook, by texting, or by instant messaging.
  • Parents may want to interact with you via these media as well.
  • Team information should not be distributed on, or limited to, Facebook.
  • Remember – coaches and athletes are not “friends” - even if Facebook says that you are


  • “If I wave to the kids on the bus first, they would think I’m a pervert. But if they wave to me first, then it’s OK for me to wave back” (Diaz, 2008).

Diaz, J. (2008). Facebook’s squirmy chapter. Retrieved May 29, 2008 from the Boston Globe website



  • Decide if social media use fits into your organization’s strategy
    • What do results look like?
  • Dedicate someone to social media
  • With this person’s input, create a basic social media policy for internal use
    • Empower this person to be reflexive, to be reactive, and to take initiative


  • Find out how your coaches and athletes are using computer-mediated communication in their interactions
  • Find out how coaches and athletes would prefer to interact
  • Ensure that coaches understand the possibility of hyperpersonalcommunication
  • Create for coaches’ use




Questions ?

Kevin Lawrie –