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One of the latest swirls in sports revolved around Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler and his apparent disinterest in the second half of the football game once he was sidelined. Other NFL players sitting at home were “outraged” by his lack of passion and desire to get back on the field to help his team. Many of those NFL players took to their social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, among others, and criticized the star QB's “toughness.” Here's the content of a message Maurice Jones-Drew, running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, posted on Sunday. “Hey, I think the Urban Meyer rule is in effect right now… When the going gets tough……..QUIT”.
The next day, the media announced Jay Cutler had suffered a sprained MCL.
“I never attacked him, called him soft or a sore loser,” Jones-Drew stated in a telephone interview on Monday. “I never questioned his toughness. I think people took my joke out of context. I was taking a shot at Florida fans.”
What happened on the field doesn't matter, but what happens in cyberspace does. Your “rep” follows you WHEREVER you go. Once you hit send, you better be prepared to defend. Many players “backtracked” on their words the next day, but the point is that once you express your opinion to EVERYONE on the internet, you can NEVER take it back. Online forums are great for asking for help from your peers, and Facebook is fun socially AND can be a great business tool. The power of the “re-tweet” with Twitter is AMAZING.
I remember one gentleman posted in a recent online forum that he didn't care if a client saw all the negativity he was spewing on the board. They weren't his clients if they saw that and didn't hire him. While I can understand his thought process (somewhat), the fact remains those are printed words on a page. They lack the emotion, inflection, phrasing, pitch, tone, and clarity of your voice. The problem is that this power can also come back and bite you in the tuckus if you're not careful. Yours indeed has been guilty of this more than once, and I urge you, as a businessperson and someone who cares about your reputation, to THINK before you hit send. Your words and importance will forever be out there. Strive always to make a positive impression.
Send and be prepared to defend. Your words are in black and white for all the world to see. In today's society of emails, text messages, tweets, posts, and status updates…EVERYONE can look inside your bubble by focusing on one little engine. Google.