It has been standard practice for college athletes to have their social media accounts monitored by their team. College sports teams also monitor/review the social media accounts of prospective athletes.
Three years ago, an unnamed college coach was recruiting two basketball prospects from Fairport High School. However, upon reviewing the recruits' social media accounts, the college coach determined that one of the recruits did not represent the College's values and standards. Subsequently, the college coach ceased recruiting the athlete. Interestingly, the recruit's Twitter was not filled with illegal activity, but contained frequent use of vulgar language and made several references to partying. Those posts were enough to cost the young man a potential scholarship.
Undoubtedly, athletes are public figures. In the hyperconnected world of today, aspiring professional athletes must be prepared to act as professionals at an early age. Young athletes must realize/be instructed that anything they have ever posted on a social media account is available to anyone that wants to dig deep enough. Here are some tips for aspiring, young athletes to easily control their public image by navigating the minefield of social media:
- Delete old accounts- If a social media account is not being used, it should be deleted. Simply put, what good is keeping a social media account with potentially damaging posts?
- Clean up current accounts- Yes, it may take a large amount of time, but go through all of the posts on active accounts. All questionable content should be deleted.
- Don't use social media- There are many athletes who find social media, and its proper use, to be too much work. Just ensure that any account not in use is deleted. It should be noted that not using social media will not enhance an athlete's brand either.
- The Grandma rule- Before every post, an athlete should take a second to think "Would I want my Grandma to see this?" The athlete's theoretical Grandma would also understand slang, so no words would be lost on her. If the post is not something an athlete would show their Grandma, then it should not be posted. Similarly, this means that athletes should post the things they would want their Grandma to see. That means posting about happy instances, good times (that are substance free), and good works the athlete does for others. Grandmas and coaches are very alike.
Social media can be tricky for the young athlete, but following some of these best practices will help enhance their budding brand as they progress in their careers.