• The Athletic Director’s Fear of Facebook

    “We’re just afraid of that people will make inappropriate comments if we start a Facebook page.” I got this from an athletic director just last week. I also got an email from a coach expressing disappointment that his high school athletic director would not let him start a Facebook page for his team. I’ve heard it many times before yet I’m surprised when still hear it. Even after Facebook has reached the *750 million users mark.

    Let’s consider police departments for a moment. Police departments are an easy target for criticism. For this reason, you would expect that a Facebook page for police departments would then be a lighting rod for negative comments and not a good tool for public outreach. Right? Ask the over 700 police departments with public Facebook pages in the US and I think you’ll find quite a different answer. I’m not saying that the athletic administrators fear of social media is unfounded. Their concern is real. There will always be people who have something negative to say. But here’s the rub. Right now they are saying it on message board where they are hiding behind screen names.

    Bring them to your Facebook page and they can no longer hide. Negative, disrespectful and inappropriate comments will likely be no more an issue than they are now. Further, you can delete any unwelcome comments. If it gets really bad then you can simply delete or unpublish your page! Simple as that! If your athletic director or sport administrator has the fear, don’t simply dismiss their fears. Acknowledge them and say “I would feel the same way if I were you.” (Some Dale Carnegie for you!) Then ask them to be specific about what their fears are. Then, systematically check them off but not in an “I told you so” sort of manner. At the end, do your best to make it their idea. “I know that you want us coaches to do a better job of communicating with our fans. Do you think this would help us toward that end?” I hope that, by the end of the conversation, he realizes that Facebook is made for sports teams! I’ll let you take it from there, coach! Good luck!

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