Surprise, surprise. Hoosier nation’s “Twitter nation” strikes again, this time with actual responses from the players.
Things all started with a reaction tweet from @indianaman11 following the comments from Indiana basketball head coach Archie Miller at the Huber Winery event.
At the event, Archie discussed the rehabilitation progress of Indiana SF Jerome Hunter. To be completely fair to @indianaman11, the comments out of the event mentioned that the staff would not even have an indication of Jerome Hunter’s leg condition progress until much later into the summer off-season.
Doing his part to keep Twitter accurate and well-sourced, Jerome Hunter responded to Mr. indianaman11. Simple and short: “False facts” and the 100-emoji.
Jerome’s reply set off a chain of responses from Indiana players: freshman Rob Phinisee, NBA Draft-bound Romeo Langford, and incoming five-star freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis.
“We’re used to it.” What do they mean?
Reading between the lines, they were referring to an earlier social media post that was made at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season. A fake social media account posting completely-fibbed information ended up getting distributed through the highways of social media platforms. Under the false guise of a former-Indiana player’s Facebook account, the post tried to spread a number of made-up stories about the Hoosiers, including team fights, player departures, etc.
Although that might have been one of the more notable occurrences, there is no doubt that throughout the disappointing parts of the 2018-2019 season, the Hoosiers received a lot of negative social media reaction – staff and players alike. In fact, some of the negativity got redirected at media members covering the Hoosiers as well.
Romeo Langford in particular, despite choosing to play for his home state and giving the Hoosiers a full season with an injured thumb, receives flack to this day for not living up to “fan’s” expectations as one of the superstar players in the 2018 recruiting class.
The good news for incoming freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis is that he has watched things unfold on Twitter this past season. Hopefully he understands what he is getting himself into and can mentally prepare himself.
In fact, he may know better than anyone else on the roster, especially considering the case of his AAU teammate and fellow 2019 in-state player Keion Brooks Jr. After committing to Kentucky, the former-Indiana target’s mother mentioned publicly that the Brooks family took notice to the negative comments made to Keion during his recruiting process. While not specifically calling out any group in particular, the insinuation is with the Indiana fans that took Keion’s commitment to Kentucky just a bit too personally.
Is there a takeaway from all of this?
In a world where social media is king, gone are the days where you hear news days after they occur from proper news channels. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and everything in between, anyone can react or contribute instantly to events occurring around the world. We are still learning the implications of having such free-flowing information at our finger tips.
The phenomenon of being able to hide behind a username and the real-time access to various people at the swipe of a finger has created an environment where internet trolls live and thrive. Those with negative or falsely sensational views also happen to be the loudest on social media as well, with their posts rising to the top of feeds because they have generated the most reactions and comments.
In many cases, fans respond to the troll-post in order to correct a false statement. Others pile on with the negative sentiment. That cycle of negative posts creating the most engagement keeps going and going. Watching people react ridiculously is exactly what the trolls are looking to create.
- No matter what, the internet trolls will continue to troll. These folks intentionally create fake accounts and provide false information. They love nothing more than to set the world on fire and watch it burn. Of course, not all of them are even fans. No doubt that a lot of folks in this category could be from rival fan bases. The more you react and give in, the more their appetites are satisfied.
- The other bucket, which I believe @indianaman11 belongs to, houses fans that may be innocuously tweeting their thoughts and tagging players and the Indiana staff. Their goal is not to create controversy, but rather share their own opinions on what they have seen, heard, or analyzed.
The lesson here? The players and staff are probably reading what you are saying. They may not always respond, but they certainly scroll through their mentions. It’s human nature to do so. In short, be careful out there when you fire your social media bullets, maybe it will cost your school a recruit or transfer or two. Would you tell those players or staff members that same message in person? Players and coaches will say that they ignore everything posted on social media, but is that really humanly possible to not let it affect them at all?
How Indiana-specific is this?
Of course not at all.
Year after year, there are groups of Kentucky fans that ask for John Calipari’s job even though Coach Cal has 8 NCAA tournament appearances in his 9 years at Kentucky, which includes a national championship. We’ll see what happens next year now that he has been given a lifetime contract by the Wildcats athletics department.
Big Blue Nation was also responsible for the harassment of Elite Eight referee John Higgins. After a handful of unfavorable calls in Kentucky’s 2-point loss to North Carolina in the 2017 NCAA tournament, Kentucky fans took to social media to do everything they could to ruin John Higgins and his wife’s roofing business. They spammed social media, harassed the phone lines, and provided false customer reviews and even fake reports to the Better Business Bureau.
But with the second most-followed men’s basketball Twitter accounts, Hoosier nation has a lot of room for bad apples that may ruin the bunch.
Despite the bad mentioned in this article, there is still a lot of good that can come from social media. It provides a means of communication to Hoosiers that might be transplanted outside of Hoosier nation. Fans can show their support to current, future, and former players and coaches. Social media also provides an open avenue for constructive feedback, which AD Fred Glass has taken into consideration with a number of Indiana football improvements: tiered pricing and alcohol sales.
One of the highest-priority goals that Archie Miller had coming into IU was to step up the social media game. He specifically referenced Ohio State’s football social media engagement as a model to mimic. Ever since, the Hoosiers have had a new-found emphasis on social media and they have done a great job with their engagement, specifically the videos. Shout out to Alex Sherill, Indiana men’s basketball’s Director of Creative Production!