There's saying that's been making the rounds lately, in talking about journalism, saying that "trust is the new objectivity." The idea is that if you're trustworthy, even if you have a bias, people are more interested in what you have to say. But, of course, that doesn't just apply to journalists. It pretty much applies to everyone, in any business. People are tired of fake connections. They want real connections. That's what connecting with fans
is really all about. If you're honest and open, you build trust. And that trust is valuable. So it's difficult to understand why so many organizations work so hard to stifle that kind of openness. We saw it recently with the Washington Post's new social media guidelines
, and we've seen it elsewhere as well, such as with sports teams.
For example, JJ sends in the news that the Jets benched a player for a Twitter message
, despite the fact that the team is actually more open to having its players use social media to connect with fans. Hearing this, I figured it must be quite a Twitter message -- seeing as there was just a big controversy over a Redskins player who insulted fans via Twitter
, calling them "dimwits" and saying they shouldn't give their opinion on the team since they work at McDonalds. But what did the Jets player say that was so troubling?
"1 play in the 1st Half, 4 plays in the 2nd half,.... A bit disappointed about my playing time but very happy and satisfied about the win."
I'm honestly having a hard time seeing how that's a benchable offense. He was entirely honest, and not accusatory. He was happy that the team won, but wished he could have been involved in more plays. He's a professional athlete, and such sentiments are pretty standard. It actually seems nice that he's sharing with fans in that way. He didn't seem to be complaining
or disparaging the team or anyone. He just noted that personally he was "a bit disappointed" that he wasn't more involved.
The fact is, the internet lets people connect with others -- either one-to-one or one-to-many in much more direct and personal ways than ever before in the past. Yes, that has some risks and downsides, but on the whole, that openness and connection builds trust and a relationship, and that's important. It makes no sense to try to stifle such communications, whether its a journalist or a professional athlete.