Syracuse University Needs To Wake Up On Social Media Policies

USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night's @SyracuseU Twitter incident was just another shining example of the university's incompetence with social media. The school's inability to control its own message not only embarrasses the university, but also hurts the credibility of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

If there's one thing I hate more in the world than the New York Jets, it is incompetence.

And since the existence of Twitter, there probably isn't a more incompetent entity that deals with social media than Syracuse University.

No better example of its incompetence was displayed Wednesday night after Syracuse basketball's Senior Night victory, 78-57, over visiting DePaul at the Carrier Dome.

It was minutes (maybe seconds) after the final horn when the university's OFFICIAL twitter account, @SyracuseU, tweeted a link to a blog, ran by an Onondaga Community College Broadcast Communications student, Mike Ortiz Jr., that claimed a source said head coach Jim Boehim was set to retire because of possible NCAA sanctions.

I will choose not to link to the blog, make comments about Mr. Ortiz Jr. or slam Deadspin for "running" with the story -- it is Deadspin's job to find these stories and run with them, especially when the school's official Twitter account gives it "credibility" by linking to it.

Instead, what I'd like to do is ask SU to call all those responsible for starting and monitoring these Twitter accounts into a meeting Thursday and do the following things: A) a stern what-the-fuck-is-going-on talking to; B) while they're being chastised, seriously discuss whether or not they should be assigned to a different job.

This has to be the final straw for these accounts that most of the time are not only useless, but are downright embarrassing.

How many times has an incident like this happened at @Cuse, the official Twitter feed for Syracuse athletics, or @SyracuseU? (Remember the Chick-Fil-A incident?)

Unofficial statistics claim -- its unofficial because I'm just making crap up like other so-called bloggers -- 99-percent of the time @Cuse has no issues. It does its job.

Of course, that is until 1-percent of the time it tweets something completely inaccurate or commits a recruiting violation.

(Correction: The recruiting violation was committed by the @SyracuseU account not @Cuse.)

After committing said mistake, which in the real world probably gets one fired, there's no corrections or apology.

(Those were the usual procedures until @SyracuseU issued one late Wednesday night for its latest folly.)

Now, I understand student interns are running these accounts most of the time, and because of this they are destined to make a mistake.

But I ask: Why are student interns in charge of a business' Twitter account? -- and I am not the only one asking this question (H/T Geoff Herbert).

As public relations firm Tanner Friedman writes, "This trouble didn’t start at the moment of careless students tweeting. It started because our culture has anointed college students as ‘social media experts.’" Students should not be managing accounts that represent a professional brand, especially one that’s worth millions of dollars.

This latest folly should be the straw that breaks the Syracuse PR office's back. Not only was it totally unprofessional to link to a blog that looks like a 5-year-old created, but it also does blogs like Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician a huge disservice.

As you may know, Sean Keeley, the creator of this great blog, has worked hard to build a site that Syracuse fans and people outside of the Syracuse fan base trust for information. (Ed. Note: He's great! And handsome!)

Though, TNIAAM stands out among a lot of other sports blogs, it is, unfortunately, still lumped in with whatever reported this Boeheim-is-retiring nonsense.

For however long this rumor lasts, the rumor will be linked to a Syracuse blog. The keyword, of course, is blog; which makes a lot of people that don't understand content from the Internet shy away from it even more.

See, there was a time, long before the Internet, when it was one's job to make sure shared information was accurate. Speed wasn't that critical because there were deadlines, so accurate facts and insight was the most important aspects of a story.

I know Mr. Keeley does not proclaim himself to be a journalist, but he is closer to a journalist than he thinks because he makes damn sure that whatever is posted on TNIAAM is something readers trust.

Other than the obvious snarky posts, each time a reader visits TNIAAM they never have to ask, "is this post credible?" If the news wasn't credible, TNIAAM wouldn't post it.

I am lucky to be a part of an online community that (for the most part) is very smart.

The sad thing is a large majority of the non-TNIAAM online communities - (cough) (cough) Syracuse.com -- are, as Jim Boeheim puts it, "idiots." Complete morons that can't look at a website for 30 seconds without seeing an I-SPY of red flags and, instead, ask TNIAAM contributors if the site, and the information it is sharing, is credible.

Actually, most don't even get that far. They just share the link with buddies and say, "I did hear something about this last week from a very credible source inside Syracuse University;" and then get angry at Syracuse.com's Mike Waters, Donna Ditota or Brent Axe for not reporting the news.

As you can tell, this topic is important to me and incompetence in this area annoys the hell out of me.

The saddest thing, this whole rant started because a prestigious Journalism School couldn't control its own message.

And that my friends is the true definition of incompetence.

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