Monday, March 21, 2011

Social Media Saving Bruce?

The Bruce Pearl saga took another turn this weekend as a group of his dedicated followers decided to take to social media in a campaign to "Save Bruce". Among the targets of the group are the NCAA's main Facebook page. In an interesting piece of transparency, the NCAA appears to not be dumping wholesale the wave of Save Bruce comments that are part of the organized campaign. There seems to be some mild language in some of the comments, but the extremely harsh opinions about the national college sports organization are being allowed to ride. The NCAA did acknowledge the fervor and restate it's position on the matter in what looks like a stickied post at the top of the page.

The Keep Bruce Pearl page on Facebook is up to almost 10,000 likes, no small effort in short time, and the group has YouTube videos and created a mini-pep rally to gather in some traditional media coverage. As one would suspect, they have the participatory blog media already in hand. Twitter is in the mix as the group has reposted Dick Vitale's opinion regarding Pearl's future recently. However, one of Vitale's earlier tweets speaks more to the situation at hand.

Let's be clear: this is a matter for UT's administration to decide, and I'm taking no sides on this matter.

What is important to note is the way the rules are changing. Would an institution's reputation be more damaged in the current social media environment by attempting to tamp down and delete "negative" comments or is the institution better served by letting the event run it's course, like waiting for a fever to break? A year ago, conventional wisdom would support the former. Today, we're watching a real-time example of whether the latter is the valid strategy.

Keep watching.

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