Ted Bishop – how not to tweet?

Last week, Ted Bishop, the president of the PGA of America had to resign his post after publishing a very unfortunate Tweet in response to a posting from Ian Poulter.

European Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter is a bit of a social media savant, or at least his publicity team are. You can follow Ian on Twitter @ianjamespoulter He has a book to promote and took to social media to deliver some of the juicier nuggets of insight into the life of a tour pro.

That Ted Bishop to Ian Poulter tweet!

It seems that Ted Bishop took exception to Ian’s criticism of Sir Nick Faldo and the comments he made about Sergio Garcia at the 2104 Ryder Cup. Why Ted felt the need to defend Sir Nick is anyones guess, but here is the tweet that did the damage.

ted bishop tweet

3 days on, and Ted Bishop has been relieved of his duties as the President of the PGA, a very sad state of affairs given that he had two months of this two year tenure remaining. But why did the board of the PGA feel the need to wave goodbye to Ted Bishop?

Well, we can only surmise, but in my view it looks likely that the departure was nothing to do with calling out Ian Poulter on his golfing achievements and everything to do with the use of the phrase ‘Lil Girl’

All of golf is working hard to encourage new golf blood, and to bring equality for the ladies game. And that includes such bastions of the game like the Royal and Ancient who recently voted to allow female members. So when the leading administrator of the game west of the Atlantic starts using language like that, it was only going to have one conclusion.

Derek Sprague, the PGA general manager who is taking over from Bishop until a successor is found said, “We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident.”

Ted Bishop went on record stating: “I want to apologize to Ian Poulter and anyone else that I might have offended with my remarks on social media that appeared on October 23, 2014. Particularly, I have great remorse that my comments contained the words “little girl” because I have always been a great advocate for girls and women in golf.”

What can we learn from the Ted Bishop Twitter debacle?

1. If you are going to post something on social media, think twice and re-read your content, before you press SUBMIT

2. Ted Bishop published this tweet on his own Twitter account, and not that of his employer. But beware, there are no finite distinctions between the two domains when it comes to social media.

3. The chances are that the PGA of America ran some training sessions for staff on how to use social media, and what is acceptable and what is not. They also probably have a social media agency overseeing operations. But not every organisation, golf club or brand has access to the same resources.

That doesn’t mean your online presence should be antiseptic and devoid of personality. Encourage your staff to publish content that engages with your customers and fans, but help them understand that it’s easy to step over the mark. It’s not complicated and no different to the customer service training that you probably already run.

4. Don’t be afraid to publish a challenging post, but keep it professional. No one is questioning why Ted Bishop chose to defend Sir Nick Faldo, it was the language that he chose to use that got him into trouble!

How do you ensure your team stay on the right side when using social media?

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