At this moment, the NFL has 82 jobs listed on the ADP career site. Everything from senior communications strategist for the league to “seasonal researcher” for NFL Network.
But the most interesting listings, from our perspective, were for “Coordinator, Player Social Media Initiatives.” That job, described as “full-time, temporary,” seems to involve more hands-on work with NFL players than leagues typically bother with. Here are some of the listed responsibilities:
- Identify and distribute relevant and engaging photo and video content to NFL players
- Work with a team of digital content creators — writers, designers and social producers — to produce original social and digital content to be distributed to players
- Help ideate around how to best use league-owned content to help players grow their social media accounts
- Monitor and evaluate content to help players understand what is and is not working
The league is seeking two people for the position, one based at NFL headquarters in New York and the other at NFL Network in Culver City, California.
Basically, it sounds like the NFL hopes to get more involved with players’ personal social media accounts. That apparently entails both passing out photos and videos to players and working with them to develop their own content. We don’t know what kind of content they have in mind, of course, since they still have to “ideate” that.
In recent years, sports leagues and teams have built their own social media followings with a wide array of images and clips and gifs and memes and gimmicks. But as far as we know, the NFL has never worked directly with players to enhance their own digital presences. Typically, the only observable interaction between a league and its players on social media is the occasional retweet from a league account. And given the way the NFL cracked down last fall on teams posting official highlights (before eventually loosening up a bit), it’s a bit surprising that the the league would encourage players to use and distribute its content.
That said, teaming with players on social media strategy makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen outlets like Bleacher Report and The Players Tribune work with athletes of various levels to produce social-friendly videos, so why shouldn’t a league get involved? While the NFL as an organization might not be that popular, its players certainly are, and growing their profiles through social media should help everyone involved.
The danger here, from a player’s point of view, is that the NFL might become overbearing in its influence on players’ social media. It’s not too hard to imagine the guy who “monitors and evaluates content” becoming a guy who tells—or suggest—players what they can and can’t tweet.
But we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves. This position is just a pair of job listings, for now.