He was as brave as they come on the rugby field, putting his body on the line for club and country.
But Wales and British & Irish Lions legend Sam Warburton has revealed how he is now extra careful with what he puts out there on social media.
The recently retired flanker who has joined the BT Sport rugby team, was speaking at our Google Digital Garage event at Cardiff Arms Park – where he played for Cardiff Blues for a decade.
He said: “I quadruple check everything. I read it, I read it again, then again, then I wait for 20 seconds and read it again. If I make a spelling mistake it breaks me, and it takes 10 seconds for someone to write back. I’m always very careful.”
As you might expect from someone who enjoyed such a stellar playing career, he is very conscious of how he represents himself on platforms, such as Twitter, which he somewhat reluctantly joined whilst touring New Zealand with Wales.
“I joined Twitter in 2011 and really quickly I got 1,000 followers and I thought ‘my god this is amazing’ and it just snowballed from there,” he said. “It became quite addictive for the first year because things were going quite well on the rugby front but I quickly learned the negative side of social media which I think a lot of players have found quite hard to deal with.
“There are pros and cons of using it and you have to learn pretty quickly.”
Sam chats to BT Sport presenter Abi Stephens at the Google Digital Garage event in Cardiff. Photo courtesy of WalesOnline.
He adds that he has become more relaxed about the content he posts since retirement from the professional game but remains conscious of his social media footprint.
“Now if someone says something I disagree with, I can say so straight away. I have more freedom in what I do and what I say,” he continued.
“You still have to represent yourself and create a good image of yourself. I won’t just say ‘shut up you’re wrong!’, for example, now I might do a little bit more public speaking and if they look at your Twitter feed and see you can be unprofessional that can reflect badly so you have to remember it is still a visual public platform. A lot of players forget how much reach they have.”
It is a lesson that can apply equally to pub and club businesses. Those who attended Cardiff or one of our other Digital Garage events have learnt about how to use digital marketing to attract more customers through their doors.
- Rugby fans can see more of Sam Warburton during our coverage of Heineken Champions Cup rugby. He will be on the screen again when Cardiff face Saracens in a double header on Sunday December 9 and Saturday December 15.