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Social Media Use Risks Come with Benefits

Shaquille O’Neal is a great promoter.shaq

And in this day and age, is it incredibly easy to make one’s self visible through the use of social media. Sometimes, though, there are pitfalls (in addition to the downsides of releasing contract terms) of using these outlets.

Such is the case of O’Neal, for one, who has recently spent a great deal of time holding on to the limelight by any means possible, most commonly by his use of Twitter.

As Fox Sports’ Mark Kriegel points out, O’Neal is a diversified showman, but at the same age, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t pining for media attention, he was averaging 22 PPG en route to earning the NBA Finals MVP.

Kriegel also states that the news of O’Neal to the Cavaliers that re-surfaced during the NBA Finals was released at the wrong time. Similar to Alex Rodriguez and Scott Boras’ announcement during the World Series that Rodriguez would opt out of his contract with the Yankees, there is a right time and a wrong time for players and agents to attempt to create publicity.

In fact, if done incorrectly, it could hurt the reputation, change the way the personas of the parties involved are viewed, and actually do more damage than intended good. It is important to ascertain the best time for using social media in an age when information is instantly shared with millions of people across the globe.

O’Neal’s antics are enjoyed by all, but as his celebrity fades, he should consider focusing his energy on once again making waves on the court rather than in the media.  There are ways to gain the spotlight without abusing social media.

There is nothing wrong with O’Neal’s use of Twitter and other sites like Facebook, but he should let the exposure come to him instead of forcing the spotlight on himself with actions such as tweeting during halftime of a game. While some people may have no problem with this as social media continues to gain popularity, O’Neal is paid millions of dollars to play the game and anything that could possibly take his focus away from winning should be frowned upon by front offices and fans.

O’Neal knows how to get his name in the headlines, which can be incredibly advantageous for endorsement deals, as long as his actions are deemed acceptable by the media and fans. Several slip-ups could change fans’ perspective of O’Neal from one of the most dominant players ever to Twittering fool who focuses more on himself than the team he plays for. That kind of exposure is a risk if social media actions become lax.

The power of social media is immense, but taking precautions to prevent negative publicity is just as important as the tools itself especially as more and more people turn to these sites as a mean for news. Other athletes can learn from O’Neal as he inches closer and closer to the line.