KU Study Claims Social Media Makes Your Voice More Powerful

LAWRENCE, Kan. –(WIBW) Jordan Bass, an Assistant Professor of Health, Sport and Exercise Science at KU, believes social media has created a new dynamic in the work place.

It brings intense pressure for organizations to react quickly to controversy.

When scandal strikes, social media weighs in. Bass examines the effect in a study being released in June.

"We have to see it but when we do it just snowballs and everyone reacts to it and gets angry and social media really plays into that," said Bass.

Bass and co-authors Mark Vermillion of Wichita State University and Paul Putz of Baylor University contribute to the study. Among the examples, in April 2013, video surfaced of Rutgers University Head basketball coach Mike Rice hurling insults and basketballs at players.

Rice was suspended for 3 games, but public outcry on social media led the school to terminate his contract, and force out the athletic director for not taking swift action.

It's what had attracted Bass to the issue. "It was interesting because it was first time we saw an organization forced to react based on public reaction and there was no new information."

Social media also spoke loudly when recordings surfaced of Clippers owner Donald Sterling telling a woman he did not want her to bring black people to games.

When NBA policy led to the league banning Sterling, the public applauded. Bass said, "That's what we want to look at going forward is what do organizations have in place to handle these viral situation. Maybe waiting 24 hours to react just isn't enough anymore maybe we can't just say no comment."

Jordan Bass says student-athletes are encouraged to engage with fans on social media but there's a fine line between showing one's personality and saying something that has an impact and a black eye on the university.

"We don't want to limit free speech but you are also representing an organization so it's a tough line to walk whether it's sports, business or anything. Having well trained employees in social media aspects is going to be really important for organizations as we go forward," said Bass.

The Kansas Board of Regents is set to vote Wednesday on a social media policy which, if approved, would allow University officials to fire faculty or staff who violate it.

Posted By Justin Surrency


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