When it comes to Twitter, I am of the belief it is whatever you make of it. You follow the people you want to follow and interact with the people you want to talk to. For most, that is just fine. Others have to live by a few more rules though, and that includes UCLA head coach Jim Mora.
At the end of UCLA’s Alamo Bowl victory against Kansas State, Mora rushed a handshake with Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, and later worked his way back to the Wildcats coach to seemingly explain his displeasure with Kansas State attempting to leap over the pile as UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was taking a knee to run out the clock. Asked about the handshake routine during the postgame press conference, Mora chose not to get into it, but he did take to Twitter to suggest he would go to any length to defend the safety of his players. That tweet, and the account that shared it has since been removed. Mora’s Twitter account was the target of plenty f social media attacks and criticism for his postgame handshake. This is Twitter after all, where anyone with an account has access to just about anybody else on the service. The reason for shutting the account down may be unconfirmed, but the timing would suggest the attacks and criticism were so overwhelming that Mora, or somebody else, decided the only way to stop the criticism was to shut down the account. But that only makes things worse.
Whether you side with Mora or not on his stance regarding Kansas State’s late-game strategy to try and break up a quarterback kneel (I, for one, see no issue with it as Kansas State was simply trying to win a football game), there are lessons to be learned by the Bruins coach and his Twitter habit.
Twitter is a great tool for coaches to share information about the program they lead. It is a terrific recruiting tool and a fantastic outlet for promoting the program, yet even as we break in 2015 it seems that so many are still unsure how to handle the social networking resource properly. For all the good it offers, it can be equally as devilish if used improperly or unwisely. Some people have to use Twitter differently than the rest fo the world, because some professions have a certain demeanor that needs to be presented 24/7. The head coach of a major college football program, fair or not, falls under that profile, which means someone like Mora (or whoever it is that has access to the coach’s Twitter profile) has to have a grip on the impact any one tweet can have, as well as the patience to deal with the mentions that are sure to come fired in the account’s direction at any given time.
So in light of Mora’s recent Twitter issues, I serve up these free bits of advice (these are NOT rules) for any college football coach out there who may be reading this, and perhaps you find it helpful for your own Twitter habits as well if you are not a coach;
1. Before you tweet anything, type it out and read it aloud before hitting the Tweet button. If there is anything you hear that could remotely be considered controversial by anyone — fans, media, bosses — then perhaps it might be wise to remove the tweet
2. Do not tweet at high school recruits. Ever.
3. Have fun with Twitter. Don’t use it to release your frustrations and vent your bitterness.
4. Do not be a jerk. Just don’t.
5. Do not tweet at high school recruits. I felt that deserved a second mention.
6. People are going to attack you on Twitter. These people are not to be given the time of day, so you absolutely should not be giving their messages any merit by responding or acting in a defiant way. Let them have this small victory, because it may be all they have to live for.
As it turns out, there is reason to believe Mora has returned to Twitter, although under a private account for now. While this may sound like a wise move after being attacked on Twitter, it actually should be a cause for alarm as he is unable to be monitored by the NCAA unless he approves the NCAA of following the account. No coach should own or operate a private coaching account.
7. If you are a coach on Twitter, do not use a private account.
If you have other rules and words of advice for college football coaches and Twitter, feel free to offer them in the comment section.