The Celtics put their players through a preseason "media training session," which included advice on social media use, according to an article posted today on the Sports Business Journal:
Rich Gotham had it right. The Boston Celtics president had joined the team’s public relations staff and me on a conference call to discuss the preseason team media training session I would be conducting. When the conversation turned to Twitter, Gotham provided very specific guidance.
“Tell the players, ‘If you’re going to tweet, tweet with a purpose.’”
Gotham wanted to help the Celtics avoid the self-inflicted Twitter turnovers that can distract a team or even hurt the club on the court. Careless use of social media has resulted in fines (Brandon Jennings of the Bucks) and suspensions (White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen), players being benched (former Jets wide receiver David Clowney, now with the Panthers) and even waived (former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson).
So how did the Celtics do with social media during the 2010-11 season? It was a mixed bag. During training camp, team members used Twitter as a platform to distribute humorous behind-the-scenes videos shot on their iPhones, mostly featuring Shaquille O'Neal and Nate Robinson in skit-like performances with each other. That curtailed a bit after one not-so flattering video involving a locker room dance party went viral.
One of the season's biggest story lines sprung from Twitter when Detroit's Charlie Villanueva launched accusations of insensitive trash talk at Kevin Garnett. Later, Paul Pierce took his talents to South Beach (eliciting a harsh response from Miami's Udonis Haslem), but Pierce typically found more constructive ways to utilize Twitter like goading teammate Ray Allen into this year's 3-point shootout.
Rajon Rondo showed off his video game systems and Robinson in a fur coat. Glen Davis, Jermaine O'Neal, and Von Wafer chimed in every now and again. All in all, the good probably outweighed the bad with Boston's social media use.