SPECIAL REPORT: Student-athletes’ misuse of Twitter can have lasting consequences

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Twitter has forever changed the way that the news is reported and created a worldwide community in which people can interact with others in an instant. The benefits of the tweet have been significant, giving us the ability to spread important information to a broad audience immediately, but there are also pitfalls.

In today’s age of social media, student-athletes are often active on Twitter, and the results have been mixed. While some use it as an effective tool of communication, others have blatantly misused Twitter without fully understanding the repercussions of their words. Led by my colleague Mike Dougherty, our staff examined the issue in an extensive report that appeared in today’s edition of The Journal News. To see the full package (which I would highly suggest), click here to read Mike’s story and more.

Mike will also host a Twitter chat on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. to discuss his findings, or answer any of your other Twitter-related questions. You can find him @hoopsmbd, and I’ll also be chiming in @vzmercogliano. Use the hashtag #lohudtwitter.

Three Twitter experts from The Journal News Sports Department offer tips on how to tweet safely and successfully.

Mike Dougherty
@hoopsmbd, @LohudGolf, @LohudHockey, @LohudLacrosse
Experience
Journal News sports reporter since 1988
Rules of engagement
1. Tweet with a purpose. Nobody cares what you’re eating, so refrain from sharing a never-ending stream of clichés. Actual news attracts followers.
2. A picture can be worth 140 characters.
3. Professional athletes should be role models. Follow the leaders. There’s a reason why the NBA prohibits its players from tweeting 45 minutes before a game and 10 minutes after — Twitter isn’t a good platform for venting.

Josh Thomson
@LohudInsider, @jthomson22
Experience
Journal News sports reporter since 2003
Rules of engagement
1. Embrace the audience. You will have a more active following if you participate in the conversation.
2. You can never tweet too much information.
3. Tweet to your audience. The best Twitter feeds are focused, so you need to know what your audience wants. Avoid what they don’t want.

Vincent Z. Mercogliano
@vzmercogliano
Experience
Journal News sports reporter since 2010
Rules of engagement
1. Pay attention to your followers. As often as possible, interact with your followers and try to answer any appropriate questions that are sent your way.
2. Using hashtags is a great way to organize information, as well as an easy way to let your followers know what your tweet is referencing.
3. Be unique. Try not to regurgitate information. That’s what retweeting is for. Add your own unique perspective, and don’t be afraid to show some personality.

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About Author

VINCENT Z. MERCOGLIANO has been with The Journal News and LoHud.com since March 2010. He graduated from New Rochelle High School in 2005 and from Hofstra University in 2009 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He currently covers boys soccer, wrestling and baseball, while assisting with LoHud's Yankees coverage.

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