Social Media Lessons To Learn From Cardale Jones

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Image by Scott Beale

Grantland recently did a feature on the social media star that Cardale Jones has become since leading Ohio State to the National Championship early in 2015. Given that we first noticed Cardale for tweeting in 2012 about how silly it was that football players had to go to class, he’s obviously improved his interaction with his Twitter audience.

It occurs to me that there are two lessons that anyone using Twitter can take away, especially when a tweet is not met with favorable impressions.

1. Go accomplish something

The interesting thing about Cardale’s 2012 tweet was that he was the Buckeyes backup quarterback, in fact at the start of the 2014 season, he didn’t even win the job when starter Braxton Miller went down. Literally, he was most famous for that horrible tweet. Rather than continue to try and fix his public relations blunder by tweeting more, he went quiet and really wasn’t heard from again.

But when called upon to step in as the starting QB for the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship game, and then all the way through the National Championship playoffs, he wasn’t talking, he was quietly working behind the scenes, so that he was ready when the chance came. And boy, was he ever ready.

Once he was out accomplishing something, then he was back on Twitter making noise. Nothing makes people forget about your previous faux pas like going out and accomplishing something. Winning the National Championship, is about the best you could do as a college football player. Once he was known for doing that, he could go back to making jokes and being a bit outlandish on social media.

2. Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

The second thing that has become obvious from Cardale’s Tweets since the victory over Oregon, is that he’s more than wiling to make himself the butt of the joke. That includes making fun of his previous issues with Twitter.

This is key. We all make mistakes. I say this all the time about what I do for a living as a trainer. If you talk all day for a living, eventually you’re going to say something you wish you hadn’t. When you “live” on Twitter and other social media platforms the way most college age kids do, eventually you’re going to say something you wish you hadn’t. I think most people are willing to accept that, as long as you can acknowledge it and move forward from it. (Not all, I am well aware that there is a growing Twitter mob out there just waiting to ruin anyone for saying things they don’t agree with, but they do not represent most people, they’re just a lot louder than most people.)

How do you move forward from a PR nightmare resulting from a less than thoughtful post? You go back to work, and back to succeeding in your field, you admit to being as human as the rest of us, and you have a little fun at your own expense, because it’s not the end of the world.

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