LaRussa’s Twitter Lawsuit Prooves Need to Monitor the Social Space

It was revealed yesterday that St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa  had filed a lawsuit against Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site.  The lawsuit cited trademark infringement and emotional duress caused by an imposter operating and posting tweets under the name Tony LaRussa on Twitter.

LaRussa is not the first sports celebrity to have an imposter represent them on the site.  This week’s issue of Sports Business Journal in its profile of the sports industry’s adoption of Twitter, lists several prominent executives that have pretenders on Twitter, including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

The problem of Twitter allowing others to pose as prominent individuals is a scenario that needs to be rectified.  The LaRussa imposter was taken down following the filing of the lawsuit.

What such a situation points out is the necessity for brands, companies and individuals to protect their reputations online by closely monitoring what’s being said of them.  Parody has its place, but when it comes to a leading brand, or in this case, a successful major league baseball manager, one small joke can lead to a major problem that affects a company’s business or a person’s reputation.

Companies should closely monitor sites such as Twitter. The easiest way is to engage and become part of the community. This allows a company to control its own message and quickly negate any negative attacks from imposters.

As Dominos found out several weeks ago, there is no hiding once something becomes viral. 

You cannot pretend that what’s being said about your brand or yourself in social media settings will quickly disappear. Thus, by participating in the various online communities, assigning interns and staff to closely monitor what’s being said, and most of all, engaging with those that want to follow you online, you can correct misconceptions and refute negative reactions on your own terms.  While you can never control everything being said, it certainly is more beneficial to be part of the discussion at all times.

Tom Cosentino

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