That one fateful tweet

By: Jordan Ottaway

The Dallas Maverick’s horrible play and Rick Carlisle’s $25,000 fine for criticizing the officials weren’t the only things sparking a big reaction during the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. Chad Shanks, the social media manager for the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet that ended up costing him his job.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 11.01.25 PM
A screenshot of the tweet that ended Shanks’ career.

During game 5, @HoustonRockets posted a tweet that read, “Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.” Along with a horse emoji with a gun pointed to its head. The saying of watching what you post on social media really seemed to come back to haunt him.

Dallas responded saying, “Not very classy but we still wish you guys the best of luck in the next round.” Shanks said that the tweet was in the heat of the moment and that his emotions got the better of him. There is even a petition to get him back and a hash tag on Twitter called #BringBackChad.

Yes, this is sports and emotions run high when Houston team is, in this case, embarrassing Dallas, but he is still the face of Houston when posting to that account. That was a tweet that should have gone to his personal account. He has to remain professional when representing the Rocket’s franchise.

In my own personal opinion, I feel that his punishment was justified because if he had suspended then there would be a chance he would do it again. In an email interview with Shanks, he said that his boss usually let him push the limits but was not happy at all with this post. That shows that Houston does draw the line and wants to keep it classy and civil in all cases.

Houston, similar to many franchises, doesn’t want to gain a reputation of condoning behavior like Shanks showed. I feel like I am in the minority for saying his punishment was appropriate, but it would have been on his personal account then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Shawn Spieth and Social Media Analytics

Jordan Spieth shocked the world running away at the 2015 Masters to win his first green jacket. Oh yeah, he is also the second youngest winner to ever put on the coveted jacket second to Tiger Woods.

It’s obvious that Spieth is a hot topic of conversation, but his dad, Shawn Spieth, invented a way to track the popularity of his son, and other athletes, on social media. Shawn and Kyle Nelson, a software and social media entrepreneur, co-founded Stout Partners and developed the “MVPindex,” according to an article by

The software will take analytics from social media and use ranking algorithms to have real-time social media rankings for athletes, teams and brands. Each sport will have its own ranking algorithm.

MVPIndex is following a lot of athletes, teams and other networks to make sure its rankings stay up to date, or up to minute.
MVPIndex is following a lot of athletes, teams and other networks to make sure its rankings stay up to date, or up to minute.

The benefit of MVPIndex is for people to track their favorite players and teams to see how popular, or unpopular, they are. From a business aspect, sports marketers and companies can use it to see if there is a team or player they might want to sponsor to get their name out there.

For example, Jordan Spieth has a 10-year deal with Under Armor and uses Titleist equipment. TaylorMade, a competing brand, could use this to try and pursued Jordan to switch to their brand.

Having 500k or more followers and being verified on social media isn’t cutting it anymore. Now we are making it to where we can follow this in real-time. Honestly, this is a pretty cool program that could come in handy to people in the sports business world.

Think of all the sports writers that could do a roundtable discussion or article on why this player or team is dropping while another is thriving. It could be a reason other than how they are performing.

MVPIndex is going to be a popular program that will be useful to a wide variety of people.

Separating Professional lives and personal lives on Social media

By: Jordan Ottaway

We are living in the technology age where everyone is using a computer, smartphone, tablet and now we have the privilege to be using smart watches as well. With all theses devices comes social media, and that can be a great thing while also bringing some complications.

According to “Worldwide Social Network Users: 2013 Forecast and Comparative Estimates,” nearly one in four people are on social media totaling roughly 1.47 billion people worldwide. In an era of younger workers who are on social media with co-workers, separating one’s personal lives and professional lives is becoming an issue.

This is something that one does not want to do one social media. Photo from Business Insider website.
This is something that one does not want to do one social media. Photo from Business Insider website.

What was once water cooler talk is now taking place on social media and that can get employees in trouble with their bosses who are also online as well. All it takes is one dumb post and a job can be lost or a career can be thrown off track.

However, this doesn’t apply just to employed individuals. Heck, I think this applies more to people who are looking for work than anything else. There are a lot of hiring managers who look at potential employee’s social media in order to help them make a decision whether to hire them or show them the door. That’s why it’s important to keep the personal life far away from the professional life, both offline and online.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be the enemy or a friend depending on how it’s used. Hiring managers will go through and see what content is posted to get a better idea of who that person really is because, let’s face it, job seekers will always come off as professional during the interview.

“One of the things they want to do, in addition to checking out [the applicant’s] Facebook, companies ask for access beyond their privacy settings. They like people to ‘friend’ them so they have better access to their full page,” Kirk Holland said in an article done by the California Aggie.

Job searching is a crucial time for anyone involved, so don’t let the “post” or “tweet” button kill your chances.

Social Media and The Dress

By: Jordan Ottaway

When something goes viral, social media is always there to make sure everyone knows about it. That was the case when a Tumblr post caused thousands of people to lose their minds. Yes, it was the infamous dress.

Thursday evening the post read, “Guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree and we are freaking the f*** out.” That’s’ all it took for the majority of Twitter users, even many celebrities, to completely lose it and ask all their friends what colors they saw.

One of the many memes made to poke fun at the dress debate.
One of the many memes made to poke fun at the dress debate.

Most of the dress debate took place on Twitter using the hashtag “#TheDress” drawing more discussion than Mohammed Emwazi, the ISIS executioner recently identified. One would think that would be more important than debating the color of a dres. What was astonishing is that it was not just average people and celebrities weighing in on the issue, but major news outlets like CNN brought in scientific minds as well.

Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen said that the explanation was tiny cones in the back of the eye that perceive colors in a slightly different way depending upon our genes. Usually people would see the same color, but the picture of the dress had a tint that confused a lot of people. Just think about it, this started on Tumblr and is now being covered by CNN and being discussed amongst visual specialists.

If it weren’t for social media, not near as many people would have had the chance to debate and make memes about it, as the Internet likes to do. However, trends come and go, so it won’t be long until the dress is out and something else will take its place. That is the social media circle of life, so stay tuned because there could be another dress controversy right around the corner.

Getting To Know the Killer

By: Jordan Ottaway

The shooting that occurred at Chapel Hill near the University of North Carolina campus was tragic, and social media is helping the public get to know the man behind the gun.

Craig Hicks is the man who was arrested for shooting newly married couple Deah Barakat and Yusor Mohammad and Mohammad’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Authorities have used Hicks’ Facebook page to learn that he is a strong Atheist that has spoken against Christianity and Islam. He also posted a picture of his loaded .38 revolver on Jan. 20.

A photo speaking out against Christianity and prayer is one of many things found on Hicks' Facebook page.
A photo speaking out against Christianity and prayer is one of many things found on Hicks’ Facebook page.

The warning to be cautious of what one posts on social media seems very fitting right now. With Hicks speaking out against Islam and posting the picture of his pistol makes the decision of whether to call this a hate crime a little more difficult, or easier for that matter.

A 2013 survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police found nearly 96 percent of departments use social media in some form, and 80 percent reported it had helped solve crimes, according to an article done by In this case social media wasn’t really used to catch Hicks, but it was used to learn more about him.

What someone posts on the Internet is a good indicator of who that person is and what he or she stands for. He could have his privacy settings set where non-friends would not be able to see his profile, but alas, he doesn’t and anyone can see all the radical photos he posts.

It is interesting to think if the trial to come would play out differently if social media weren’t involved. That just shows how big it is in today’s society, and by no means is there any implementations that social media is a bad thing, that’s not true. How will things play out for Hicks? Time will tell.

This Means [Digital] War

By: Jordan Ottaway

A battle used to be fought using only a gun, but now battles are be fought in a room sitting behind a computer screen. In this case I’m not referring to soldier-operated drones, but talking about the use of social media. In 2011, under the orders of President Obama, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was formed to attack terrorism from a different angle.

The CSCC was formed in effort to neutralize ISIS’s success at spreading propaganda to recruit people to jihad by portraying extremist activity as negatively as possible, if it already doesn’t look bad enough as is. One way the CSCC is doing this is through its Twitter account called Think Again Turn Away linking stories that show the raw truth about terrorism.

Alberto Fernandez, who is the coordinator for the CSCC, said they aren’t going after the extremists themselves but for the individuals that have not yet become terrorists. The FBI have arrested more than six Americans on their way to Syria to enlist in Jihad.

Think Again Turn Away shows ISIS recruitment propaganda.
Think Again Turn Away shows ISIS recruitment propaganda.

People fall into the trap because extremists make their life look desirable showing fancy houses and lounging in luxury restaurants. To make things more disturbing, they post funny cat pictures to appease people’s emotional side. This is why you shouldn’t trust strangers on the Internet.

This article gives some disturbing yet needed information because obviously there are people in the United States that will get drawn in to extremist’s lies. Warfare is not just physical anymore, it’s also digital and organizations like the CSCC are needed. This quote from Fernandez on why the CSCC is necessary is too good to paraphrase.

“There is a Mount Everest of radicalizing material” on the Internet, says Fernandez. “There’s a small hill, a hillock, of counter-radicalizing material.”

The CSCC have had small victories here and there, and those are needed to achieve the big victory down the road. The Twitter name “Think Again Turn Around” can serve as a daily reminder on what to do when we encounter questionable people/accounts on the Internet.