In the past couple of years, multiple consulting companies have suddenly appeared on the scene to claim they are sports social media experts, gurus, leaders, trainers, etc… These firms are pitching colleges and universities to hire them to monitor their student-athletes’ Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and/or to “educate” student-athletes, coaches, administrators, etc… about social media matters.
To claim one is a sports social media consultant the barrier to entry is very low. From looking at the lack of credentials from most of those selling themselves as social media experts it appears that the only tools needed are: Internet and phone access, and a Slideshare account. With these three things you can create a free or low cost website and/or a free blog, open a free Twitter account, and create social media presentations based upon the work of others. Some of these “self anointed social media experts” may also buy a software package or create an application to track the online activities of student-athletes that may create tremendous legal problems for the schools that utilize these programs.
1) The consultant advises schools to buy his social media monitoring software to track and/or archive student-athletes’ password and/or non-password protected online activity.
2) The consultant advises schools to request or require students to register their social media user names and/or passwords with athletic departments and/or third parties.
6) The consultant follows more people on his professional Twitter account than are following him back.
8) The consultant claims that schools that utilize his social media monitoring program will not be violating any current/future laws or creating the potential for tremendous legal liability.
9) The consultant has no verifiable professional social media experience prior to 2011.
If a social media consultant approaches an NCAA institution and has more than one of these characteristics it most likely indicates that the consultant is not the expert, leader, guru, etc… that he claims to be but a fraud whose advice may put the safety of a university and/or its students at risk and may create tremendous legal liability for universities, coaches, athletic department administrators, and/or student-athletes.
To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.
Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.