Social media in many ways is a great platform for athletes. For high school athletes it is a recruitment tool, for collegiate athletes it is a way of documenting accomplishments and connecting to people who are fans of your school/team, and for professional athletes it is a way of branding yourself. Social Media gives athletes an opportunity to reach a large audience, which can be a good or bad thing.
For athletes, like many people, public image is very important, you are representing an organization and your actions must be up to the standard of that organization or the standards of anyone you are affiliated with such as sponsors. Schools, teams, and organizations all have a set idea of what their brand image should be and athletes are in the forefront the most, whether they realize it or not.
Many universities have had issues with what their student athletes have posted on social media in the recent past. One of the more prominent examples is a tweet from at the time third-string quarterback Cardale Jones at Ohio State when he tweeted the following in October of 2012:
Following the tweet Jones was suspended for one game and deleted his twitter account for a short amount of time. By looking at his twitter profile he now has a much more positive view toward academics.
When an athlete posts something to social media it is not only open for their followers to see but also to the public. Nothing on social media is ever completely private. For this reason it is important for athletes to be aware of what they are posting as well as what others are posting about them.
While athletes have full control over what they post on social media they are not always able to control what is said about them. In order to maintain a positive online reputation there are several tools athletes can use to manage their online reputation:
On a final note to everyone on social media, just be smart about what you post. If you wouldn’t want a certain person to see it should you really be posting it? Remember the values that you are representing whether they are your own or the values of an organization you are affiliated with.
If you’re interested in reading more check out 9 Social Media Dos and Dont’s for student athletes.