We’re used to social media being ubiquitous–but on a tennis court, and during a match?
The staid rules of tennis, and maybe even those of common sense, were challenged during the opening round tennis match of the French Open in 2013, when Sergiy Stakhovsky, a 27-year-old Ukrainian player, challenged a call, which sounds reasonable enough.
However, instead of pulling an old fashioned “John McEnroe”–how Twentieth century–and yelling at the umpire, he simply ran to the sideline as any twenty-something would do, grabbed his mobile phone, and tweeted a shot of the disputed call to his followers.
The application of social media used by an athlete during an actual event is new.
He attempted to prove that he was right (and it does seem so–the skid mark of the ball seems to have touched the line, which makes it in) as it happened live, during a tournament.
Many athletes use social media to connect to their fan base, just as celebrities, business people and others have recently over the last few years, and Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and others are invaluable tools to connect, stay in touch and engage with thousands or even millions of followers very quickly.
But back to Sergiy Stakhovsky: should he have sent this tweet? How does this impact his online (and offline, for that matter) reputation?
Running off court to get a phone and taking a picture of a disputed call could be considered a passive-aggressive choice and is the ultimate insult, albeit more subtitle than a direct argument occurring live, aimed at the umpire, and maybe even for the tennis fans courtside at the actual event.
What could it accomplish during the game itself–could it change the outcome in anyway? No. Then way do it at all?
Well, when searching for Sergiy Stakhovsky, the top three links are about this incident; the other links point to Wikipedia, his official site, and other tennis-related posts.
Is this the kind of thing an athlete or anyone would want to be associated with, long term? Remember–an online reputation stays online usually “forever.” (or until the internet search is replaced with something else down the road. However, for the forcible future, this is what we’re stuck with).
Could a tweet impact Sergiy Stakhovsky;s future? Well, probably not, but you never know how someone can interpret your online reputation. Maybe a potential sponsor wants a slightly “bad boy” image, and xxx would fit the fill. Maybe a sponsor would be turned off, however, by his action.
One thing to consider is that any news–in this case about the tennis Tweet–can and will usually push off the other good information from the first page of Google’s search page, and this impacts your online reputation.