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Social Media – And Player Confidence

I watched the Denver Nuggets pull off a nail-biting win against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night to stave off a playoff sweep. During this entire playoff series, and I’ve watched several of the other games in other series, you really see how player confidence can impact the game. Averages tend to go down in playoffs, but these numbers are pretty stark (especially the Free Throw Percentage).

FG %


FT %


Season Averages





Playoff Averages





The following video actually shows an OKC Thunder player short-arming a free throw. This completely demonstrates a confidence issue on “the big stage”. I also saw plenty of Dallas Mavericks short-arming shots when the Portland Trail Blazers came back from 20+ points.

I’ve also seen plenty of 3-second violations because a teammate expected the ball handler to shoot the ball, and the ball-handler tried to pass instead.  Passes in the playoffs can happen because people recognize the Power of the Assist…or because they are nervous and do not want to take the shot!

So how can this confidence issue creep into our social media efforts, and what do we do about it?  Prior to getting to this point, I encourage you to check your company’s social media policy if you hope to use your social media interactions in service to the company. Some actions have a way of coming back to bite you!

Here are some common newbie questions/concerns.

  1. I wouldn’t know where to start. OK, this is the biggest cop-out. One of the least understood, but greatly prized, aspects of communication is listening.  The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. Start by listening.  Put some thought into a Twitter ID (because painful to change identities later), and then create it.  Then start following people who are influential when discussing the topics of interest to you (using the Search feature in Twitter).  You will quickly discover you need to create lists to segregate the news feeds to more bite-size chunks.  I have News, Sports, Quotes, Denver, Social Media and Favorite Blogger lists. Since we are discussing social media, some of my favorite contributors (by no means a complete list) are Robert Caruso, Brian Solis, Jeff Bullas, Steve Goldner, Social Media Examiner and Social Media Digest.  These thought leaders will provide plenty of reading material via tweets and blog posts.  As you become more comfortable listening, then you may start interacting with these people as they courteously follow you back (everybody loves a good retweet). I also strongly encourage creating a LinkedIn profile for professional networking as well as joining LinkedIn groups.  You can find my profile here.
  2. I wouldn’t know the right protocol. I thought Sean Nicholson wrote a great blog post that included the protocol rule of Don’t Be “That Guy”. He encourages the same “listen first” approach as you get to know your community.  Do not push product/service announcements and be prepared to stay for the long haul and become a valued contributor to the community.  Social Media is about the relationship, and Mutual Welfare & Benefit, versus interruptive advertising. Remain courteous at all times, leave the inappropriate language/graphics at the door, and the social community will welcome you and forgive the occasional “oops” moment.  My own oops moment was retweeting someone but changing the words to fit in 140 characters.  The resultant retweet appeared as if the original poster had endorsed me…and that was not the case.  I retracted the retweet and apologized to the original poster. Always keep the content of the original tweet.  Oh, and when thanking a new follower, do not do an auto-reply with a canned message.  I generally try to pick something out of the followers bio or recent tweets to respond to when sending a thanks through direct message.
  3. What if nobody follows me? If you truly take the viewpoint of giving back to a social community, the followers will come. Take the time to fill out your Twitter bio and provide an actual graphic/photo for your avatar.  You can use your company logo for a business account, but I know I prefer seeing a picture of the person with whom I am communicating.  Mix up your tweets with a little personal, a little professional, breaking news, humor or inspirational quotes. If your Twitter feed only has product or blog announcements, or “Great Deals”, or depressing *albeit* very real world news, then some people may elect to not follow back.  Do not feel compelled to follow everyone that follows you. However, not following people who have a genuine interest in your tweets (versus selling to you) may result in them un-following you.  Be a part of the community with gratitude that they would choose to follow you first.

I know this post covered primarily Twitter with a slice of LinkedIn (otherwise it would have been even longer!!).  I look forward to comments that add to the above points as well as extend to the other social networks and blogging.  Meanwhile, BE CONFIDENT AND GO FOR IT!

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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