Social Media And The Penn State Sanctions

Yesterday morning, my Facebook newsfeed and Twitter timeline were both filled with comments about the NCAA sanctions on Penn State. The sanctions included:

  • A $60 million fine, with the money going to an endowment to benefit the welfare of children.
  • A four-year ban on postseason play, including the Big Ten championship game, bowls or the playoffs coming in 2014.
  • A reduction in the maximum allowance of scholarships offered to incoming players from 25 to 15 a year for the next four years.
  • Any entering or returning player is free to transfer without restriction (such as sitting out one season). Others can maintain their scholarship at Penn State and choose not to play.
  • The vacating of all victories from 1998-2011.
The responses to the sanctions ranged from some agreeing with them, some completely objecting to their severity, and others begging for people to just stop posting about it. While I was scrolling through posts, especially those by Penn  State students, alumni, and fans, I couldn’t help but wonder if people knew their statements were public. When hot topics and big issues hit the news, it is important to remember that the comments you make on social media are public, and you should choose your words wisely. Here are 4 lessons I learned from observing social media on the NCAA sanctions:

You’re opinion isn’t the only one: Not everyone is going to agree with your point of view, and that’s ok. Be prepared to receive responses from others with a different viewpoint and respond in an elegant and polite manner.

Your opinions are a direct reflection of you: Not everyone is going to understand that your comments were made in the heat of the moment. You don’t want to leave an impression that you cannot control your thoughts or have a tendency to lash out.

Everything online is public: No matter how well you think you’ve mastered privacy settings, what you say online can be viewed by everyone. You never know who will be offended by your comments, or how your comments will affect you in the future.

Sometimes, saying nothing says everything: You do not have to comment on every major topic that hits the news stands. Silence can oftentimes be the greatest mode of communication. You know your thoughts, opinions, and viewpoints and sometimes, that is satisfaction enough.

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