Athletes and other high profile individuals are constant targets of scams offline and on social media. Earlier this year, Manti Te'o, then a student-athlete with Notre Dame was the target of an elaborate catfishing scheme that almost destroyed his NFL career before he was even drafted. Manti Te'o is not alone in being targeted by con artists who utilize electronic communications. The Miami Heat's Chris Andersen was also recently entangled in a digital scheme that almost destroyed his NBA career and personal life.
These incidents are the tip of the iceberg. I have counseled multiple high profile individuals who have been the target of these scams. Fortunately for most of my clients, they usually contact me before these issues become public knowledge. When I provide services to professional athletes, professional sports teams, college athletic departments, Fortune 500 executives, and other high profile clients, I discuss these type of issues and the importance of limiting one's digital footprint. Unless one is able to authenticate the person with whom they are texting with and/or sending emails/social media messages with I do not recommend communicating with them.
The bottom line is that some people are putting their guard because a growing number of self-styled social media consultants are advocating that high profile individuals should focus on increasing one's social media usage to build one's personal brand and/or their school and/or corporate brand. My philosophy is different. It is about protecting the individual, school, corporation, etc... first. Brand building is a long process that takes years of hard work and a handful of Tweets or Facebook posts won't do it despite what some self-styled social media consultants advocate.
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