By: Tom Malone
Social Media Erupts
Sunday night, my Twitter feed exploded with reports surrounding University of Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly’s potential move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching position.
According to ESPN.com, he held secret meetings with the staff of the NFL organization weeks prior. So, how did social media expose and accelerate potential public relations fiasco?
Twitter played a substantial role. I saw retweet after retweet regarding Kelly’s Oregon exit. First, the tweets described the deal as “in-progress”, “pending”, and “alleged”. After only an hour, the language used in the statuses referred to the “finalized” deal.
Though the story had little sources to back up the facts, Twitter spread the news rapidly. From a public relations standpoint, the general Twitter public likely looked only to the tweet rather than digging deeper into the sources of the information.
Facebook statuses followed almost as quickly as tweets appeared, prompting ample comments and social media discussion regarding the coach’s seemingly imminent departure.
Kelly made a brilliant public relations maneuver Monday morning. He stated clearly that he had “unfinished business” at UO and would remain the Ducks’ head coach after declining an offer from the Bucs. He said he was “flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization,” according to an official statement released by UO.
In terms of public relations, Kelly presented himself well. He made a statement early and did not allow the rumors to grow beyond his control. He displayed his passion for Duck football, playing to the die-hard fans who probably tweeted disheartening sentiments only a few hours earlier. He appeared to be flattered that the National Football League showed interest in his ability, which could possibly open another opportunity for his future career advancement if and when he feels the jump to the next level is right.
For now, the Ducks keep Kelly and fans can breathe a little easier. Hopes of next years’ BCS National Championship still remain. The Bucs are left without a coach. If he receives another offer, Twitter and Facebook will be the first to spread the word.
*Photos by Tom Malone