Social Networking: This is how you do it and Stafon Johnson

There are two stories here and I will tell you that I am not looking for college football trash talking here and I am going to be up front that those comments will be deleted unless they are in a friendly spirit of competition. Because honestly, there are some things more important than football. Yeah, you just heard me, October 2, 2009 At:59 PM Pacific Time.

On Monday, Stafon Johnson, a senior running back for my Trojans suffered a critical injury while bench pressing when the bar slipped from his hands and 275 pounds landed on his neck. He was rushed to the hospital and we held our breath. The question wasn't "can he play?" it was "can he live."  Part of our family was in trouble.

When you see Stafon on TV (scoring the winning touchdown in our victory over Ohio State, for example), you see the athlete, and only a slight glimpse of the guy, getting the team motivated, engaging the fans and alumni. TV gives you visibility to the first, and social media gives you visibility to the second. Stafon will not be playing again this year. But there are other victories: surviving is one. And not to sound all mooshy, the human spirit is another one. I am so proud that Stafon is part of our family. Wait, let me say that again. I am so proud that Stafon is part of *OUR* family. What an amazing guy.

We could have gotten all of our information from the sports media. But really, do you trust people that report on pre-season polls and rankings as if they are actually worth something? Nope. While some in the college football environment see Twitter as a "distraction", coach saw it as an opportunity. Stafon was in intensive care when coach hands him a cell phone and gets him set up to Twitter. Trojan nation starts to decompress as Stafon, unable to speak, let's us know how he is feeling.

I know that I have been critical of Twitter in the past. Not so much the tool but the inability of users to filter. What you had for lunch is of no interest to me. But getting a glimpse into who you are as a person? That's what I want to see. That is what Stafon's Twitter followers (whatever they are called. Tweetees? Whatever) got. What a freaking treat that is.

When I go out and speak to audiences about blogging, I talk about my filters: make it relevant or interesting or both. And what I have observed from my blogging experience is that making it personal is social networking gold. A post on writing a resume will get some eyeballs. Writing about who you are gets subscribers.

Coach Carroll totally got this right. For a school, team and alumni that are connected by a fighting spirit (I did a good job of picking the right school for me...right?), Stafon's was exactly what we needed. We needed it because we are concerned about a great young man. And we needed it as fans. A couple days out of this horrible accident and this is what we get from Stafon:

@Stafon13 layin here watch espn and wishing i was on that plane to Berkeley but imma leave that mission 4 my boi's God has a plan lets go RB UUUUUUUUU

I cannot believe I just joined Twitter.



Comments (11)

  1. Joe Enos says:

    Wow, that’s a rough experience – I hope things work out.  It does show one of the few real useful uses of Twitter, and I’m glad he’s able to pass along his good spirits.

  2. RB says:

    Jeez, it’s clear after reading his Twitter that he may have sustained a head injury as well.

  3. Neal says:

    Thanks for posting that. I had no idea he was using Twitter and wouldn’t have known otherwise. Inspiration can come from anywhere – even over twitter. Neal

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    RB – being a jerk anonymously is pretty cowardly. It’s freakin’ Twitter, not a dissertation. You obviously don’t use Twitter or you would know better.

    He’s in intensive care. Were you raised by wolves?

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Oh…and Joe and Neal – I think it’s pretty cool too 🙂

  6. Joe Enos says:

    So one thing you didn’t mention – what’s your Twitter username?  I’m sure you’d get a pretty good following from your readers.

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Hey Joe,

    I haven’t 100% decided to commit to keeping it updated versus my facebook updates which I do frequently. The audiences seem different. Still wrestling with that. But my Twitter name is ‘notyoursugar’.

    Feel free to follow and we will see if I can get my head around updating (I still can’t refer to it is tweeting).

  8. Joe Enos says:

    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean – I’ve been using it for almost a year now, and I still don’t like saying "tweeting" – and for some reason I just can’t bring myself to say things like "LOL" on Twitter when I find things funny. It seems like if you do that once, you’ve crossed a line and become a txt-speaker and can never go back to being literate.

    Or maybe I’m just crazy…

  9. David K says:

    I’m currently trying to get "sold" on Twitter by reading Shel Israel’s new book called Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods.

  10. HeatherLeigh says:

    I’m with you Joe. I think part of it is that it’s just unoriginal. Hard to say any of those things with a straight face.

    David K – thanks for the link.

  11. I was with you about a year ago on the Twitter phenom it was just a little hard for me to grasp but now I’m hooked – I am officially addicted to the tool.  As marketing communication manager for a talent acquisition team it’s been very useful for us and we communicate with candidates and industry leaders daily.  In fact we were mentioned in the book David K mentions in his comment, "Twitterville."  I started @SodexoCareers about 18 months ago and now most of our recruiters are using Twitter to build their networks by discipline.  Even so I still find the twitter lingo a little quirky and have to giggle each time I hear someone say "tweeps."  And I try hard to stay away from "LOL" or any text lingo for that matter. But I will say I am looking forward to your tweets!

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