The Social Media Effect: Notre Dame’s Quick Response to Manti Te’o Hoax Under Scrutiny

Welcome to the brave new world of social media and higher education

Whether Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o was Victim or Conspirator, Notre Dame officials have entered uncharted waters

By Brad Wolverton in the Chronicle of Higher Education

During a storybook season that ended in the national-championship game, it turns out that Notre Dame's star linebacker, Manti Te'o, had a girlfriend who was just a story. The university was forced to react swiftly to news of the hoax, experts said, because of the trajectory of scandal in a social-media age. (Jeff Gross, Getty Images)
During a storybook season that ended in the national-championship game, it turns out that Notre Dame’s star linebacker, Manti Te’o, had a girlfriend who was just a story. The university was forced to react swiftly to news of the hoax, experts said, because of the trajectory of scandal in a social-media age. (Jeff Gross, Getty Images)

Athletics leaders across the country raised questions on Thursday about the University of Notre Dame’s handling of a sensational story about how its star football player was mixed up in a bizarre hoax.

The story centers on Manti Te’o, a Heisman Trophy finalist and the impetus behind Notre Dame’s improbable run to the national-championship game. According to various news-media reports, Mr. Te’o played this past season under a heavy burden. In the span of six hours last September, the stories went, Mr. Te’o learned of the death of two important people in his life: his grandmother and his girlfriend.

The player’s perseverance through those losses, and his inspired play in leading the Fighting Irish to one nail-biting victory after another before losing its final game, made for the perfect fairy-tale script.

It turns out, however, that the girlfriend’s death was a fabrication… and officials from other universities are questioning Notre Dame’s full-throated support…

Continue Reading

See Also:
ABC News Video: Notre Dame: Football Star Manti Te’o Was ‘Catfished’ in Girlfriend Hoax
USA Today timeline of the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story





The Millennial Teenager: An Infographic

Part 15 in series How Millennials Who Gave up on Church are Redefining Faith and Re-engaging Community

A visual representation of the dramatic cultural shifts in teenage lifestyles created by new technologies

by Michael Lemaire

For those who grew up in a world of rotary phones and dial-up Internet, it is hard to imagine that most teenagers today have no recollection of life before cell phones. In fact, these Millennials have had so much exposure to technology, cell phones and laptops and iPods have become common aspects of everyday life. Which might explain why 94 percent of Millennials have cell phones, and 70 percent have laptops.
Wondering what life is like for these technology-obsessed teens? Confused by how this generation interacts with one another? 
This amazing infographic from Online Schools offers a detailed look at the tech-savvy world of these teens and shows the old fogies what they are missing.

The Millennial Teenager
Courtesy of: Online Schools

Photo: GETTY

Next post in series: Hookup Culture: Why Millennials Struggle With Attachment and Relationships, by Mike Friesen
See Also:

The Social Media Gospel: We Can’t Be Witnesses Where We’re Not Present, by Mike Friesen

The Rise of Digital Urban Tribes: How we under and overestimate the power and shape of the next generation, by David Kinnaman

Why Many Emerging Adults are so Spiritually Mature, by Todd W. Hall, PhD

How Millennials Who Gave Up on Church are Redefining Faith and Re-engaging Community, by Gary David Stratton

Study Finds Millennials More ‘Generation ME’ Than ‘Generation WE’, by Joanna Chau’

Young Adults Fleeing Churches That Embrace Partisan Politics, by Jonathan Merritt


On Petraeus and Producers: How an Email Trail Can Kill Your Movie Deal or Worse! by Phil Cooke

You don’t have to be a CIA chief to sink your career with an email 

by Phil Cooke • President, Cooke Pictures

Last year, a writer approached me with a screenplay, asking me to help him get his film made. Fair enough. But I made it clear that our company,  Cooke Pictures is not a funding company in a position to finance films. He said fine. Then I read the screenplay and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t something I was interested in, so I kindly told him thanks, but we weren’t interested at this time.

At that point, he unleashed some pretty nasty things, and followed up with an email. He wrote that if I was a REAL Christian, I’d get off my duff and help him get the movie made. He said I was obviously shallow, and couldn’t recognize great writing – or God’s hand on the project – plus, I was a hypocrite (among a few other choice things.)

It was a very interesting email to say the least, but I chose not to respond.

Now – a year or so later, I get a call from a friend who happens to be a significant film producer. This guy has the clout and money to get films made. He tells me he has an appointment set up with this writer I’d met a year ago and is curious if I know him or have an opinion about his project.

I didn’t have to say a thing.

All I did was pull out the guy’s email and share it with the producer and that pretty much said everything. My producer friend immediately cancelled the meeting, and has no interest in this writer or his projects.

Note what nailed this writer:  It wasn’t me or my opinion, it was his own words.  Remember that the moment you hit “send” on an email, you’ve lost control of it. In that moment of frustration or anger, what you write will live on – and it will be in someone else’s hands.

Don’t let your email trail come back to haunt you.

Ever had a similar experience?


Phil Cooke has produced media programming in more than 50 countries around the world, and in the process, been shot at, survived two military coups, fell out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison.
And during that time, he’s helped some of the largest non-profit organizations in the world navigate periods of dramatic disruption and change.
Similar Articles by Phil
Twitter Fail: Tweeting Tips for Leaders

Twitter Fail: Tweeting Tips for Leaders, by Phil Cooke, PhD

Why your Tweets may be driving people away when you could be sharing your story and connecting it with others

by Phil Cooke, PhD, president of Cooke Pictures

Scanning the Twitter feeds of nonprofit and religious leaders, it’s pretty easy to see that most have little or no knowledge of how to connect online. From boring Tweets like “I’m at Starbucks having a latte,” to subtly patting yourself on the back (“Praise God, we had 6,000 cars in the lot this Sunday!”)  you’re driving people away when you should be sharing your story and connecting it with others. So here’s a few tips to get your social media life back on track:

1) Stop over-promoting your organization.  A good rule is 10 to 1: One Tweet to promote you or your organization to ten about something else. Over promotion is the quickest path to drive people away.

2) Be personal.  People follow you to find out what it’s like to be you. Give them an up close and personal view of your life – your struggles, your failures, and your victories. Show them what they’d never find out otherwise.  Give them a glimpse of the inside world of your calling or career.

3) Remember that your followers are global.  I schedule some of my tweets so my followers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia can be part of the conversation. Don’t just think locally or even nationally. When it comes to social media, you’re everywhere.

4) Stay in your lane of expertise.  People don’t follow me to hear about recipes, sports, or knitting. They follow me because they’ve read my books, heard me speak, or met me. They want that conversation to continue, so I stick with my area of expertise, and it extends my brand.  What do people think of when they think of you?  Stick to that subject.

5) It’s a conversation, and the same etiquette applies.  Social media is “social” – it’s not a one-way street. Respond to people who respond to you. Pay attention to feedback. Your followers will be thrilled that you care.

6) Watch for critics.  No matter what you do, you’ll get someone who doesn’t like it.  But social media allows you to deal with problems quickly.  Respond either directly, or better yet, give them an email or phone number where you can take the critic offline and deal with it privately. If dealt with well, you’ll end up turning a critic into a fan.

7) Your personal feed will always be more attractive than your institutional feed.  It’s fine to have “official” social media feeds coming from your church or nonprofit, but people prefer by far a personal relationship. Keep in mind that people relate far better to a person than an organization, media program, or building.  That’s also a good reason to have others on your leadership team tweeting about your organization’s work.

Do you have any other suggestions that would help nonprofit and church leaders connect better through Twitter?

Read more of Phil’s Insights on his Blog.