I lived in Mobile for seven years and worked at WPMI, the NBC affiliate there. My wife and I moved there shortly after we got married in 2000 and had our first child at Mobile Infirmary. Jack is now 13 and at the beginning of crafting his digital footprint. Whether today’s young people know it or not, they’re a diving into the digital world head first and leaving a mark that will follow them into adulthood.
I know a 5th grader just hopping into the social media fray isn’t thinking about the possible future consequences of what he or she is posting today, but the danger is very real. My Social Media Boot Camp aims to set children on the right path at a young age so they don’t screw up when they’re older. I liken their early exposure to various social media platforms to being tossed into the deep end of the pool when they don’t know how to swim.
During my session with the New Orleans Pelicans, we covered a lot of ground in a short time. It was the team’s Media Day, so a quick crash course was in order. A lot of the guys are buttoned up and do a really good job on their social media platforms, but reinforcing things never hurts… especially when some younger players are in the mix.
The focus was the psychology of social media, conveying the right message to the media, establishing, building and fostering a brand and real-life examples of athletes torching their careers because of an ill-advised post.
It’s always great to get back to Hattiesburg, a city where I spent four years of my life. Southern Miss will always be special to me, so to be able to go back there and help today’s student-athletes navigate the media/social media waters is rewarding.
I did four separate sessions over five hours on Monday — volleyball, men’s basketball, softball and football. As a bonus, I ran into former Southern Miss quarterback Lee Roberts, who played the position when I was in college and working at the local TV station. Lee now is the color analyst for the Southern Miss football radio broadcasts. I remember people close to the team saying he was the best practice quarterback they’d seen in a long time and all he needed was a shot. Well, ineffective quarterback play gave him his shot and he only turned into arguably the second-best quarterback in Southern Miss history, behind that guy who wore number four.