Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes stand to benefit from training in the effective and responsible use of online social media via workshops sponsored by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT). The training sessions were conducted at Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, Claxton Bay, and is part of bpTT’s commitment to the athletes that have signed on to be bpTT athlete ambassadors in line with the energy company being the official oil and gas partner of the National Olympic and Paralympic teams. In a release, the company stated that from training routines to centre stage competition and the inside stories behind their achievements, the athlete ambassadors will be able to share their experiences with their fans and the general public, as they represent the nation at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Star cyclist Njisane Phillip, Paralympic athletes Carlos Greene and Shanntol Ince are among the first bpTT athlete ambassadors to receive first-hand training in the effective use of social media applications in their sporting and personal lives.
Danielle A Jones, corporate communications manager, bpTT, explained that technology would enable sports fans, and the wider national community, to share the experiences of these national sporting heroes. “Learning to use social media correctly is a valuable lesson for anyone,” said Jones. “Through social media, our athlete ambassadors will be able to share their sporting journey with not only their friends and supporters, but potentially everyone around the world so it is critical they learn to avoid the potential pitfalls that can accompany these popular communication tools. This is a chance for them to promote themselves, promote their sport, and most importantly, promote Trinidad and Tobago so we are even happier to support educating them in these new media channels,” Jones said. Like Phillip and Ince, blind Paralympic shot-putter Greene was excited at the opportunity of becoming social media savvy. “I think that I have a story to tell that can inspire young people to overcome any obstacle in life. Social media is a valuable tool that can help me get the message out and really connect with the people who support me. I relish the opportunity that bpTT is giving us to touch people’s lives and make a difference,” Greene said.
The training is facilitated by Caribbean Ideas, a digital marketing and online services provider. The workshops covered critical areas such as the guidelines stipulated by the various sporting bodies for the proper use of social media, as well as the responsibilities of being a public figure and the most effective way to use and integrate the various social media. The athletes were also given insights of how to fully utilise the Apple iPads and digital cameras that were presented to them by bpTT to enable sharing of their experiences. Brevard Nelson, chief operations officer, Caribbean Ideas, outlined the importance of this training. “We are helping these athletes to create a roadmap to use these tools effectively as they create and manage their digital footprints. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with their fans and supporters before, during, and after the Olympics and Paralympics. But even beyond that, we are showing them how to build and maintain their image and reputation as they develop their own personal brand.”
The training sessions highlighted the fact that with just a click, the athletes can connect to millions of people in mere seconds. They were encouraged to give frequent updates and to communicate with their fans as they compete against the world for prestige and glory, Nelson said. Coming off his highly successful showing at the Easter International Grand Prix, Olympic-bound cyclist Njisane Phillip explained what the social media training meant to him. “This initiative is really important because as a role model, I know that I have to set a positive example in every facet of my life. I love my fans and supporters and with this social media training I can truly share my experiences, my ‘ups and downs’ with them. With the full support of bpTT and the national public, we will give our very best when we represent the red, white and black in London,” Phillip stated.