When I say the phrase “some personal news”, what immediately pops into your brain?
For nearly all of us in the sport and entertainment industry, those words have become synonymous with announcing big life events on social media. This includes job changes, college decisions, and even non-professional endeavors like engagements or moving house.
With job changes in particular, sport industry professionals have a tendency to announce new roles or joining professional organizations on their personal channels.
This practice is by no means a bad thing. But in an age where your presence on social media can drastically alter your professional path, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach these posts. I spent the past week talking with professionals from different aspects of the sports industry to get a better idea of what those are.
Some personal news 🗞
I, too, am joining @TheAthleticHQ (seriously) as Digital Marketing Manager starting next week.
I’ll miss my @UnderArmour fam – I’ve learned so much from them the past 2 yrs. But thrilled for this next chapter!
— Brandon Fleshman (@brandonfleshman) April 24, 2018
For starters, Pam Chvotkin (Sports and Entertainment Broadcast Producer and Adjunct professor at the University of Alabama School of Advertising and Public Relations), encourages people to share their excitement about good news like a new job. But there is also a respect for the past and future that must be used.
“You want to remain humble, always, but It is a proud moment. Just be cautious and read before you send. While it’s exciting to share news, be respectful of the new brand you’re representing, and the one you are moving on from as well. This business is VERY small. Even if you left on bad or not the best of terms, no reason to bash or share bad blood publicly.”
Chvotkin goes on to detail the intricacies of staying in good graces with your old job, especially if you are still working it.
“If you’re still with another company, be sensitive that it doesn’t interfere with your work, too. In my opinion, you don’t have to say why you took the job or give any details about salary, where you’re living, etc. No need for that at all. In fact, it’s better (and sometimes safer) to NOT include that, but simply to share the news of your new role.”
Taylor Brasher, Assistant Director of Digital Communications with the NCAA, also emphasizes the need to keep both your past and future employer in mind in a “personal news” post.
“Keep the limelight and focus on the two organizations involved in the transition: your former employer—which is responsible for so many of your fondest memories, where you established your work ethic and a place you’ll always look back to as a part of what built you, and your future employer—the place that decided to welcome you into their family and where you’ll hit the ground running to continue making a difference.”
In some cases, especially for content creators, it may even be absolutely necessary to share with your social media audience if you’re transitioning to a new company or project. Billy Gates, a freelance sports journalist, and contributor for MiLB.com, shares his thoughts on why.
“If you’re making a move to another outlet, being promoted or just changing beats, it’s good to share that with your followers so they know what to expect from you later on. The reason they followed you in the first place (unless they are your friends or your mom) is the information you provide. It gives followers a heads up of what’s next from you, and if they want to unfollow, they can do that and you both can move on. It also gives you a chance to pick up new followers in anticipation for your future content, and the folks that like to follow the outlet/beat you change to will also appreciate that.”
Some personal news – this Friday will be my last day with Seattle Sounders FC.
— Kyle Sheldon (@kylesheldon) April 30, 2018
Gates has also found that sharing personal news as a content creator can build a more genuine image and strengthens the connection an audience feels to a creator.
“Sharing life news like that can also spark some engagement with your followers in a different vein than just someone replying YOU SUCK CLOWN when you share a piece of information they deem unnecessary. People can connect with you through any post you make, but having an occasion as a vehicle can create a more authentic connection.”
While it’s fun to celebrate good news on social media, there may be occasions where the news that needs to be shared isn’t all that great. In these cases, it can still be a good idea to share it, in the right circumstances and with the right wording. Gates details why with a personal example.
“When you feel compelled to share not so great news (like I had to after being laid off at The Oregonian), it can still be a good thing. Believe it or not, most people still have feelings, and your followers will come with messages of support and condolences when that time comes. It’s a bit therapeutic to get your feelings out into a social space, as well. As with anything on the internet though, there are trolls and you might get a couple negative messages, but it’s best not to give those any credence.”
Some personal news…next week will be my last with @SacramentoKings.
Bear with me as I try to recap what’s been the most rewarding journey I could’ve ever hoped for professionally, personally, and socially.
— Shahbaz Khan (@ShahbazMKhan) January 4, 2018
Whatever the circumstances surrounding your departure from a job, it’s extremely important to keep as many personal relationships intact as possible. So choose your words carefully. Brasher agrees with this sentiment.
“The sports world is very, very small. You definitely don’t want to burn any bridges, either intentionally or unintentionally, when making a diversion in your career path. You never know when you might have to cross a similar bridge in the future!”
Instead of destroying existing or potential relationships, announcing a new role can give you an opportunity to do something much more important. Joe Centeno, Art Director at Team Infographics, details what that is.
“I think it is a good opportunity to thank those that helped you get to where you are. This includes former coworkers, superiors and anyone else who might have played a part in your continued growth as a professional. It is so difficult to break into this industry. When you are starting a new job what better way to show your appreciation to former and also new colleagues.”
Chvotkin echoes the importance of showing gratitude to old mentors and coworkers.
“If there are people that helped you – THANK THEM.
As important as it is to share the news with your network, it’s just as important to share credit with those that helped you and show appreciation on your journey.”
When it is all said and done, it’s clear why the “some personal news” posts are so popular. It feels incredibly good not just to look forward to new adventures, but to be able to quantify in terms of likes, retweets, and comments, all the people who wish us well in those future endeavors. Just don’t forget to engage with those people that went out of their way to congratulate you. It’s an easy way to grow and strengthen your professional network
So, is this thing on?
Some personal news. pic.twitter.com/2zYlj44LhQ
— Jeremy Crabtree KMBC (@jeremycrabtree) October 13, 2017
There are some general do’s and don’ts to these posts as the fantastic professionals I chatted with mentioned. But I feel the need to reiterate that sharing these big professional moments is nothing to hide from, both for your own personal branding and for the sake of pumping some optimism into the sports Twitterverse.
As the summer season of hiring commences in the coming days, here’s hoping we see a slew of great “some personal news” posts from the latest round of sports business grads in our timeline very soon.