Guidelines for Social Media Usage a 'Work in Progress' for Pelphrey, Razorbacks

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 2:00 pm  

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Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke said he deactivated his Facebook profile before the 2010-11 season started. And he doesn’t have a Twitter account.

“I didn’t want to put myself out there. I didn’t want to take any chances,” Clarke said. “I want to focus on basketball and things that matter.”

A 20-something without social media? Clarke’s approach might seem antiquated, but he might actually be ahead of his time.

Clarke made the decision to remove social media from his life without a coach or school administrator doing it for him. Consider what’s going on across the country and most recently at Mississippi State (14-8, 4-5), the team Arkansas (12-10, 4-4)  faces on Wednesday in Starkville, Miss.

Guard Ravern Johnson was suspended for a game last week after posting disparaging remarks about the team on Twitter. Johnson’s comments were seen by local media and retweeted by teammate Renardo Sidney, meaning hundreds, maybe thousands of people saw his heat-of-the-moment frustration within seconds of him posting the message.

Here’s a recap from Brandon Marcello of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

Johnson tweeted: “Starting to see why people Transfer. You can play the minutes but not getting your talents shown because u watching someone else wit the ball the whole game.”

The senior scored 10 points and played 40 minutes in the loss. He spoke to reporters after the game but did not voice any frustrations with the coaching staff. Minutes later, he spoke his mind on the social networking website.

Sidney and Johnson posted messages a bit later criticizing fans.

Eventually, word of the messages got to Coach Rick Stansbury, who suspended Johnson. Stansbury also barred players from Twitter.

Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey hasn’t banned his players from Twitter. Approximately half the team’s players have — at one time or another — had accounts this season. Some Razorbacks have even gone so far as to criticize Pelphrey and question whether or not they want to be on the team.

Pelphrey said he, his coaching staff and the Arkansas administration have tried to educate players on proper use of social networking sites. He said one important lesson for players to learn is that the general public can quickly see what they say, even on an account set to private.



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