Seriously, Don’t Tweet at Recruits – It Hurts Everyone

Don’t tweet at recruits, it may seem simple, but many still do not get it.

Tweeting at recruits and using social media to try to recruit a High School, JUCO or transfer prospect never ends well.  Consider that recruits are making a decision as far as where they wish to get a college education, it is an intensely personal decision.  An overwhelming majority of Georgia Basketball Blog readers attended or currently attend the University of Georgia, the decision to attend UGA was due to a wide variety of reasons.  This decision was not taken lightly as it was a decision with financial, professional and social implications.  It is never easy, there is no such thing as a “no-brainer” when it comes to choosing a college.  The matter of fit and balance is too critical to the decision, which is why tweeting at recruits is not only a practice that diminishes the academic aspect of the decision, but it also makes it a decision that is not personal.  There is very little to gain from contacting recruits on social media and bothering them, but there is so much to lose.

Fans making the recruits’ decisions about THEMSELVES

It is incredibly selfish to contact a recruit just because one wants their team to win at a particular sport.  Often times, that is the only sport that they care about from the particular institution.  However, it becomes about the fan and their happiness.  It is a selfish act toward a prospective student-athlete who at the age of 16 to 18 is left to make an incredibly difficult decision concerning their future AND THEN twist it into a matter about team win-loss records for the team along with bragging rights.  It is completely out of line.

This is the recruits’ decision, not the fans’ decision.  It is not a poll, election nor popularity contest.  It is an idiosyncratic decision and what the recruit values is likely completely different from what the fan values.  Fans do not really care about the student-athletes, they care about the results and are willing to throw away the poor performers.  Fans often see the academic aspect as an obstacle that really does not matter (except in the case of a rival school where the student-athletes are always portrayed as illiterate crack dealers that are being paid) and think that buildings, large crowds, a winning team and a “supportive” fans are what matter most.

No.  These student-athletes are there to get an education.  The entertainment and tribalistic bragging rights that a fan would have is irrelevant.  It’s the recruit’s decision and life, fans should not be interjecting in it.

 A Horrible Comment Reflects Poorly on ALL

Demetris Robertson chose to commit to California this past weekend.  His Twitter account was mobbed by fans congratulating him on his decision or telling him that he made a mistake.  Needless to say, all of these people had no business saying anything to him.  It was a mistake to hold a press conference over the matter as it was merely a commitment, people change their minds all the time.  Congratulating someone for making a decision is rather sad.  Congratulations are in order for an accomplishment, making a decision is not an accomplishment.  The scholarship offer was the accomplishment, not the decision.

Since fans want to say things to Robertson, they did so.  Most were positive, yet self-serving and disingenuous.  Then there is this fan from Americus, Georgia or at least he tweeted from Americus, Georgia.   Read it and then read it again, soak it in for a moment.

If one wants to find this individual on Twitter, his Twitter account has been suspended indefinitely and it is not particularly shocking why that result happened.  In fact, it was bound to happen considering the outrage that followed from Tennessee and Georgia Tech fans that wanted to use this as an opportunity to feed into their desire for superiority as fans.  Frightening tribalism indeed.  There were Georgia fans and alumni that stepped up and condemned this awfulness, so credit is due.  There were others that stood for what was right, but these folks are highlighted.

This sort of behavior is the equivalent of a guy being turned down politely by a woman at a bar and then proceeding to call her a ‘bitch’ or a ‘slut’ in a vicious fashion.  It is not only poor form, but it makes a person look like they have sour grapes, a hypocrite, a sore loser and/or pathetic.  It is also an tacit acknowledgement that another person has power in an individual’s life.  Praising a recruit for months and then calling the recruit an insulting term or saying that the recruit made a mistake when the recruit says ‘no’ to your team is also an equivalent.

All of this makes not only fans look bad, but alumni and students as well.  There is a differentiation between the fan and alumnus.  The alumnus cannot just run away from their alma mater by simply not going to a sporting event or not wearing apparel, it does not work that way.  One cannot run away from their resume and LinkedIn profiles.  It is easy to just say that one simply disavows an action, statement or individual’s endorsement.  However, it is quite another to have to change perceptions, especially ones that involve acts of terrorism or bigotry.  One awful individual or act perpetrated by an individual can make an entire group look awful.  There’s nothing to lose when there is no skin in the game.

In 140 characters or less, this horrifying bigot unwittingly attempted to damage the reputation of hundreds of thousands.  This awful individual tried to undo all of the progress made at the University of Georgia over the past 50 years.  It is an incredible victory in modern culture when an individual from a Deep South institution does not have to feel the burden of defending their background when it comes to the matters of tolerance and racism.  Horrifying individuals like this young, bigoted punk re-raise those matters and move everyone backward.

It is important that this awful behavior is called out, exposed and condemned.  The bigot has the right to say these awful things just as the rest of society has the right to label this individual a ‘bigot’ and shame him.  There is no debate about ideas in this case (it is not a matter of censorship or politically correct speech), it is just a cowardly insult from a weak and backward individual that is unfortunately representing hundreds of thousands of people who do not share these awful views.  It is a simple matter of just treating oneself and others with respect.  Individuals represent more than just themselves and have a greater value to others than they think.

Yes, this is an extreme example of bitter tweets directed toward recruits, but it hammers home a point.

General rule of thumb:  Insulting a 16 to 18 year old over their decision is WRONG and doing so is completely unnecessary.  Adults need to grow up.  It is sad that an article has to be dedicated to this, but if it prevents someone from doing something dumb, it is worth it.

Not Everyone is Going to Choose UGA and that is a good thing.

Not every institution is for everyone.  What may seem like an obvious choice to one person is a terrible choice for another person.  It seems elementary, but the tribalism and anger is often misplaced and directed at neighbors, colleagues, friends and family.  It is alienating and reputation crippling.  Everyone has a different reason for attending any institution, taking any job, creating any business, patronizing a particular establishment or engaging in any relationship.

A variety of backgrounds is a good thing as far as gaining perspective, knowledge and breaking the monotony of being inside an echo chamber.  (Also, if everyone was the same, the machines would have won.)

It is puzzling that individuals feel the need to give their approval or disapproval of a decision made by a complete stranger directly to them.  Recruits and student-athletes will not impact the day-to-day life of people following their decision.  Demetris Robertson committed to California and after the decision, 99.99999% of fans and alumni went on with their day as if nothing happened.  No vigils nor fasting.  It was not something that was going to significantly impact someone’s Saturday plans and activities.  Most were not even paying close attention or any attention to what was happening, more important things were happening.

Time spent directly congratulating, recruiting (in one’s own mind) or insulting a recruit could be used in a more productive fashion.  Focus on doing great things, not on Tweeting at High School Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

*This audience already knows better, but it is good for others to read and understand.  

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6 thoughts on “Seriously, Don’t Tweet at Recruits – It Hurts Everyone

  1. I wholeheartedly agree, HWT.

    As an alumnus and current grad student, “fans” tweeting recruits -for better or worse- is awful. The unprecedented access to recruits we have nowadays is a very scary thing if not managed correctly.

    Unlike my millenial peers, I do not posses a Facebook or Twitter account. I do not think that it adds any tangential value to my everyday life. The power of social media cannot be underplayed. It might be able to help sway a recruit in the most miniscule amount, but it can definitely do a lot of damage.

    Honestly, I do not feel comfortable with grown men following 16+ year olds on twitter or any forms of social media. Personally, I find it very creepy and perverted.

    You are correct that most people that tweet this hateful stuff towards recruits are usually just “fans” and not alumni. Unfortunately, to the outside world it is hard for them to differentiate between “fans” and alumni. This is a subject that gets me rilled up every time it is an issue (which happens way too often) and I hate that people tweet vile words towards these kids.

    With that being said, I do not think that this type of reaction is anything new. I just think that social media gives these “fans” a platform to personally attack these poor kids.

    I despise social media and will use it. I feel like it sets us back as a society.

  2. Well said, HWT.

    Like I’ve said before, I really appreciate all the posts and hard work that you put in.

    I saw that we are in Giddens top four? Do you think we have a chance or do you think he’s just doing to gain more leverage?

    Thanks.

    1. So you think Fox will add another player? It perplexes me that he would transfer to TCU/Pitt. They obviously aren’t closer to home but who knows. Who do you think gets kicked off of their scholarship? In my mind either Kessler steps down or Parker is put on a medical scholarship?.

  3. Agree completely. Leave these kids alone. Be an adult. Stay off their social media. No good can come from it.

  4. Do you think I should tweet at Giddens?

    Just kidding, obviously. And your article is 100% on point. I can’t believe how sick someone has to be to publicly publish those thoughts about a kid he’s never met, or likely never will meet. Disgusting.

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