Primetime With Isaac and Suke
Weekdays 3pm - 7pm

Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
College Football
Scoreboard|Standings|Teams|Leaders|Polls

Twitter campaign backfires on Florida St, Winston

(AP Photo/Phil Sears)

By KAREEM COPELAND

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida State social media campaign turned ugly Sunday when the university's athletic department opened their Heisman-winning quarterback up to nationwide mockery.

The department attempted to engage fans on Twitter by soliciting questions to be used for a video on the team website.

The hashtag "(hash)AskJameis" became a trending topic on Twitter for a time Sunday - for all the wrong reasons.

The Twitter feed was bombarded by accounts making fun of Winston and taking shots at the sophomore. Winston has been heavily criticized for several off-the-field incidents during his time at Florida State.

He was investigated in an alleged sexual assault of a female student last season, but was never charged. Winston was suspended from the baseball team for three games and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service after being cited for stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store. There were also other minor run-ins with authorities, but no arrests.

The Twitterverse quickly went on the attack.

"I knew there was going to be some negativity going into it," said Elliott Finebloom, FSU sports information director. "The goal of the Twitter Q&A was to continue to find ways to connect our fans and the players they support. That's important to us ... and social is a big way of doing it these days.

"That was the ultimate goal."

The tweets covered a wide range from witty to malicious. Most were aimed at Winston, but others questioned why the university would risk this type of response.

One post read: "Do you know that you have to Buy One to get One Free at Publix?"

Another read: "Who gave you better protection last year - your offensive line or the TPD?"

TPD is shorthand for the Tallahassee Police Department.

"This was doomed from the beginning," said Robert Stewart, director of the Ohio University school of journalism. "It's basically a setup. Whoever thought this was a good idea had not done P.R. 101, which is to think about what all could go wrong. Everything about this was naive."

Winston has grown accustomed to the chatter.

He was relentlessly heckled at away games during the baseball season. Hundreds of online memes were generated after the crab legs incident. Winston said during Florida State's football media day on Sunday that he doesn't focus on the negative things, but has become more guarded.

Florida State still plans to run the video of Winston answering questions. And a large number of people had to be turned away from a winding line hoping for an autograph from Winston during Fan Day on Sunday.

"There is definitely a group of people that" are looking to attack Winston, Finebloom said. "He's done such a good job of reaching our fan base in so many different ways. You'd hate to not be able to continue to make sure people knew about how many good things he does."

Experts said universities and businesses need to have a thoughtful conversation and consider researching ideas before soliciting social media feedback - especially when the subject has been mired in controversy.

McDonald's had a hashtag campaign in 2012 titled "(hash)McDStories" that turned into a string of jokes made at its expense.

The vitriol was directed at NCAA President Mark Emmert in April when he made an appearance on ESPN's "Mike & Mike."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was the punching bag during a (hash)AskCommish campaign in May.

The Washington Redskins asked supporters to tweet their "(hash)RedskinsPride" in May and were awash with posts from opponents of the team nickname.

Stewart said a differently worded hashtag that limited the scope to football in Winston's case may have helped, but the open-ended nature gave "people dynamite and asking if they can help you light the fuse."

Niklas Myhr, social media professor at Chapman University, said group thought can easily snowball on social media. He explained that it's easy to be involved in casual bullying with thousands of others on the sites.

"There's always going to be haters out there, there's always going to be people that are negative," Myhr said. "If you leave it up to them to be the first responders in a case, they can have a bigger impact than they deserve and make it easier for others to follow."

Finebloom said people learn from everything that happens.

"And social media, it has its plusses and minuses," he said. "And we know that. ... There are hundreds of thousands of Seminoles fans that interact with us in a positive way and we're going to keep interacting with them positively, too."

Updated August 12, 2014

w10 © 2015 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Blazers look for season momentum, host Thunder


(AP) The Portland Trail Blazers seemed to get their offensive mojo back while putting an end to their recent fourth-quarter hiccups. They seek their first season series victory against . . . more.

Second half swoon dooms Beavers


(AP) Gary Payton II scored 17 points for Oregon State (17-11, 8-8). The Beavers shot just 20.8 percent in the second half and lost for the fourth time in five games. More.

49ers to bid to host college football title game


(AP) The San Francisco 49ers will bid to host the college football playoff championship game at Levi's Stadium. A person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the team will seek to host either . . . more.

Judge paves way for reinstating Peterson


(AP) In NFL limbo for the last five-plus months, Adrian Peterson's future with the Minnesota Vikings is still in question. The path toward resolution of his status has been cleared. More.

Matthews leads Blazers past Spurs


(AP) Wesley Matthews and the Portland Trail Blazers hope they put their recent fourth-quarter woes behind them Wednesday night. Matthews scored 31 points . . . more.

Ducks end losing streak to Cal


(AP)Oregon's high-scoring offense got another big night from Joseph Young and an even bigger lift from Dwayne Benjamin. Yet it was the Ducks . . . more.

Petersen's return to Boise to be Sept. 4


(AP) Chris Petersen's return to Boise State will happen on a Friday night. Boise State announced on Monday that its 2015 season opener against Washington has been set . . . more.

L.A. approves stadium backed by Rams owner


(AP) The Inglewood City Council unanimously approved a $2 billion stadium plan backed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke that clears a path for the NFL to return to the . . . more.

Seahawks to expand CenturyLink Field by 1,000 seats


(AP) CenturyLink Field will have an additional 1,000 seats for the 2015 NFL season under expansion plans officially unveiled by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks . . . more.

The FAN's NFL Page


From combines, to injuries and draft news, The FAN's NFL Page is the place to follow your favorite team and the entire National Football League.