With millions of people on Twitter, Facebook, and every other social networking tool out there, it makes sense that collegiate student-athletes - often in high-profile positions in campus - would be right in the thick of things when it comes to sharing information this way. In dealing with the ease with which fans, media, and donors can readily view student-athletes social media profiles, and the fact that nothing is private these days (and once it's out there, it's permanent), it has become increasingly important for these student-athletes to be educated, to learn what to do and - perhaps more importantly - what not to do, as well as to understand how they can use social media to benefit themselves and their teams.
On Monday the UGA Athletic Association welcomed husband & wife media training specialists Randy Minkoff and Sue Castorino to campus to give lessons to specific teams and to freshmen on social media tips and interview etiquette. While many social media tactics, such as not posting negative comments about your opponent or photos of yourself holding a beer, might seem like common sense, student-athletes get in trouble for these very things every day, and Randy and Sue did a great job of reminding the Bulldogs to be smart.
Soccer players Tori Patterson and Elizabeth Johnson (team pictured below) spoke afterwards in an interview about how proud they are to put on a Georgia jersey and represent this university every day, which is why they said they enjoyed the tutorial on how to make sure they do a good job while they're here in this spotlight - regardless of how big or small it might be. Because someone is always out there listening.
Here's to hoping the next time you read about a Georgia student-athlete, they're conducting themselves in a way that would make you proud! Go Dawgs!
By Connor Nolte
I know its a football Saturday but I wanted to give an update on Jarryd Wallace from London. I was able to watch him race last night and it was pretty incredible.
I wasn't sure if he was going to get that last spot so I was just talking to him about the overall experience when he looked over my shoulder and his face lit up. He had seen the start list for the final on a monitor and it included his name. Tonight, Jarryd races in the final of the 400m, an event in which, including last night, he has only run twice in competition since his amputation. A pretty incredible story. I'll be there again cheering him on as he races against Oscar Pistorius for the second straight night and two other Americans, Blake Leeper and David Prince.
Here is the story I wrote on Team USA's night on the track. http://www.teamusa.org/US- Paralympics/Features/2012/September/07/Martin-McFadden-win-third-golds-of-the-Games.aspx
By Connor Nolte
I guess this blog is long overdue. A lot has happened since I last reported on my experience with the United States Olympic Committee (read here).
My internship at the USOC has officially ended. I had a great summer in Colorado Springs working in the marketing department on Team USA's digital media efforts. While that internship is finished, I offered my services to the communications department for US Paralympics. They took me up on the offer and I am currently in London, England, with Team USA. It has been an incredible experience and I am so honored to be a part of the 2012 Paralympics.
My role here consists of covering events, posting stories to USParalympics.org, and posting Instagram images to the @USParalympics account. I've been covering just about everything. My favorite assignment to receive is the wheelchair basketball teams. My eyes have been opened to what an amazing sport it really is.
There hasn't been much time for sightseeing in London but I have been able to see most of the Olympic/Paralympic venues here and was even able to attend the Opening Ceremony. My credential gets me into every event and I've been trying to make my way to as many venues as possible.
I can't really describe what the atmosphere is like over here. I've never seen anything like it. Everywhere you look there are people and most are decked out in clothes that show support for their home countries. The scale of this event is incredible. I work out of the Main Press Centre most of the time, and it is a gigantic building with hundreds of computers and thousands of journalists file in and out each day.
I am planning on being at the Olympic Stadium to see fellow Bulldog, Jarryd Wallace, compete on the world's biggest stage. What an amazing opportunity! I haven't met up with him since he has been in London but am hoping to see him at some point while I'm here.
I also have some good news regarding my master's program. I completed my internship and passed the exit exam so I will be officially graduating with my Master's degree in Sport Management in December. I am extremely proud to have earned not one, but two degrees from the University of Georgia!
After the Paralympics I will be traveling in Europe for two weeks before heading back to the States. I'll be stopping in Paris, Rome, Greece, and Barcelona during my travels. I hope to post one more update after watching Jarryd race and the Games end.
Happy Gameday Eve, Bulldog Nation! Hopefully you're all excited about tomorrow's season opener vs. Buffalo as Georgia is finally about to tee it up Between the Hedges in 2012!
Along those lines we've introduced something new this season that will ideally make your gameday social media experience better when it comes to following the Dawgs! We invite you to join us in using game-specific hashtags on Twitter when tweeting about the Bulldogs. The hashtags will give you a way to continue showing your support on social media, while the new tags will let you see what everyone else is saying about that week's game and join in the conversation! The list of hashtags is here:
S. Carolina: #UGAvSC
Ole Miss: #UGAvOM
Georgia Southern: #UGAvGSU
Georgia Tech: #UGAvGT
Thanks so much in advance for your support and please let us know by tweeting @UGAHedgesBlog how it goes for you! Try it out today as you start getting excited for tomorrow's game! We'll have updates all day tomorrow on our official UGA account (@UGAAthletics).
As always, GO DAWGS!
As I'm sure you've seen and heard, today marked the official start to the 2012 Georgia Football season, the first day of training camp as well as Media Day - with head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players meeting with print, radio, TV, and online outlets to talk about the season. Here's a quick look at what went on:
At 11:15 a.m., media (and the players) ate lunch in the multi-purpose room of the new indoor football practice facility.
At noon, Coach Richt met with the print and radio media, and during that time the players visited with TV. The players then took their turn with the print and radio reporters on the second floor of the Butts-Mehre building, while Coach Richt stopped with TV.
There were probably about 50 media members on hand in all. It's definitely a crazy day, with all hands on deck from the Sports Communications office as well as our new media team from IMG Sports Properties. We each have responsibilities to make sure the day goes smoothly, from transcribing and distributing quotes, to escorting players to their next location, posting photos to Facebook, or whatever it may be. But it's also a very exciting day, signaling that summer is over, the fall is here, and football season (as well as the other fall sports) is just around the corner. Just 30 days from today the Bulldogs kick off the 2012 season against Buffalo on Sept. 1. It will be here before we know it!
That's it for now - we are headed down to the field for Georgia's first practice. The Bulldogs will go today in shorts and helmets, no pads.
More to come on our official Twitter - @UGAHedgesBlog.