Social Studies: Writer/Professor Alicia Jessop On Sports Law, Establishing Authenticity
Writer, professor and attorney Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) has made a name for herself on social media and through her website, RulingSports.com. She began by tackling the legal aspects of sports business on her Twitter account, which led to covering the industry for several publications. Now a full-time professor at the Univ. of Miami, Jessop spends her days teaching undergrads about sports law. She believes her use of social media has made her "more relatable" to students. Jessop said of her Snapchat account, "I get students snapping me when they are in line at Taco Bell at 3 o'clock in the morning. I generally advise against snapping your professor anything like that."
The best part of combining law and sports:
I get to live out my passion. Unfortunately, my 5-foot-3 self was not destined to be a great athlete, so I had to find another route for me to pursue a career in sports. In order to do that, I had to become an expert at something.
Challenges in making legal jargon easier for consumption:
You have to write or convey your thoughts at a level that an eighth grader would understand. The hardest part is taking issues that are really complex and translating them so that any person who comes across your writing understands what you are talking about. Courts and lawyers don't normally write in that fashion.
On social media being a gateway to her other endeavors:
I don't think I would be a full-time professor at Miami at 29 if it wasn't for my social media presence. It's the gateway to everything that has happened in my career and allowed the world to know I existed. It also allowed me to interact with some of the greatest leaders in this industry.
On incorporating social media into classes:
A lot of my students follow me on Twitter, and some of them follow me on Snapchat, Instagram, Periscope or the dinosaur that is Facebook. They're constantly sending me ideas or links. But I utilize social media in the classroom more as a tool for collaboration. If I ever come up with a project that I think is interesting, I talk about it on social media because I want my peers to be able to institute it in their classroom.
Facet of social media you monitor closely:
I used to be a Twitter addict, but in the last year, I've let go of Twitter a little bit. I'm using Snapchat a lot; I like the imagery. I'm also finding myself more on Instagram.
Biggest social media mistake:
Pushing the send button too fast. There's always the desire to be ahead of the game and be the first to break a piece of news and so often that damage can be done if that's your sole goal rather than confirming your sources and ensuring that you have what you need to break that story. There's really no way to take back a tweet, an Instagram post, a Snapchat, etc. The other big mistake that people make is refusing to be authentic. When I was getting started, I was anonymous on Twitter, and that was probably a good choice, because I couldn't make any PR gaffes. But if you want to be successful on social media, people have to have a sense of who you are.
Why establishing authenticity is difficult?
People are scared. You have that fear of, "If I say something, is my employer going to punish me for it and what are the risks to me if my words are taken out of context?" In order for communication to flow successfully, you can't be afraid of the ramifications of it.
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Many thought football's future was safe with the NFL's concussion litigation settlement. Is it, when 11 HS players have died since July?— Alicia Jessop (@RulingSports) November 5, 2015