Social Media Dos and Don’ts for High School Athletes
Social Media Dos and Don’ts for High School Athletes
The social media industry is flourishing, and whether you like it or not it’s here to stay. We have seen social media expand and evolve over the years. In today’s world, social media plays a huge role in our daily lives- especially among teenagers and young adults. Social media can be a powerful platform for both professional athletes trying to create a brand and high school athletes looking to enhance their recruiting profile. However, the key factor is that it must be used intelligently and tactically. People are always watching, whether you know it or not. They will judge you by how you carry yourself when you think nobody is paying attention.
I tend to focus on the bright side of most things but I am not completely naïve. Social media can be helpful or extremely disastrous, depending on how you use it. Social media is like a firearm, smart people will use it as a tool, while others will shoot themselves in the leg with it. Let’s face it, no one wants to be the one to learn a lesson the hard way, so it’s important to learn from people with experience in your field.
There are hundreds of platforms out there, some of which you probably can’t live without and some you’ve never heard about. However, for this article, we will stick with the biggest platforms in the industry. Most of the dos and don’ts in this article will revolve around the following social media platforms.
These are some of the social media apps and sites used by today’s young youths and high school athletes. This list covers the apps that are most likely installed in most teenager’s laptops, phones, or tablets. With this handy guide of dos and don’ts, you can avoid embarrassing moments that so many athletes have experienced.
Is there anything that might cause a potential employer or coach to raise an eyebrow? Put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants to learn about you via social media. Look through your own social media platforms and if there is something fishy, be proactive. We are all guilty of going through someone’s Instagram page. If someone stumbled across your page what would they find?
Twitter can notably be one of the major culprits here. Annually, during the NBA and NFL drafts old tweets of high profile drafts resurface. These tweets may be something disrespectful they said about his new team, teammates, women, or race. Certainly, great advice would be not to post or tweet anything disrespectful in the first place. Unfortunately, social media doesn’t allow for time travel or foresight that comes with age and experience. Don’t sweat too much about it because you have access to your old tweets and you can undo the wrong. Go through your old posts and make sure there is nothing embarrassing because everyone has a slip in judgment.
Use Your Platform for Good and Nothing is Truly Private
There are two types of social media users, those that realize they are operating in public and those who don’t. A lot of teens assume they can delete a post or their account if necessary. A lot of them don’t realize that tweets and posts can last forever. Online content can be captured through screenshots or saved by other users. High school athletes should keep in mind that their tweets, posts, and photos can be viewed by thousands of people.
Teen athletes are natural leaders on and off the field and they represent more than their name. They represent their school, their team, and everyone in connection with them. If you have a proper following, you have the power to use your platform to raise awareness that can make a meaningful change.
Every Post Reflects Who you are
As a student-athlete, how are you representing yourself online? Are you sending the right message about yourself to the public? Keep in mind that college coaches and recruiters use social media to learn about their candidates. What does your social media portfolio say about you?
It’s advisable to take time and thank those who support you such as your fans, teammates, and family. Teen athletes can set a good example for other students by supporting and sending positive messages to others in different sports and schools. Social media is supposed to be fun, so share stuff that you find interesting and join in conversations. A decade ago it was difficult to hear or interact with famous pro athletes that you look up to. Nowadays, thanks to multiple social media platforms you can learn about your favorite pro athlete and interact with them.
Above are some of the tips that will help you shine in this field. On the other hand, there are certain social media don’ts that can stop your shine.
- Do not post anything illegal. This should be a straightforward rule but it’s broken multiple times daily. If it’s illegal don’t post it online, and don’t do it in the first place. Even if your account is set to private, don’t post things such as use of alcohol or drugs. A number of student-athletes have messed up potential college scholarships by posting illegal activities on social media.
- Do not post or share anything that you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see. Before posting or sharing anything, ask yourself would you want your grandparents to see it. If the answer is no, then don’t tweet or retweet it plain and simple. Your online activities are a representation of yourself to the online community, so make sure you are doing it right.
- Do not take credit for a post or tweet that isn’t yours. Before posting content that isn’t yours, take the proper steps and get permission. Reposting or sharing is not wrong as long as you give credit where it’s due. It’s also advisable not to pretend to be someone you are not on social media.
- Do not display high emotions online. There is no issue with being real, but be cautious not to let emotions such as jealousy, frustration, and anger show on social media. Think twice before posting anything and it’s good to keep some details of your personal life private.
Social media is giving high school athletes a chance to be seen and heard at a bigger stage before going pro. As a student-athlete, you can become influential and impact positive change in the community, but there are many hurdles involved. Schools, coaches, and parents can harness social media potential instead of shying away. They can be proactive in running meetings with teen athletes focused on social media management.