Written and presented by: Brandon Brown

Social media has the ability to influence the world. One post, one tweet, one snap and that’s all it takes for your voice to be heard by millions of people. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well sure, unless you’re on the wrong side of a bad post. Far too often athletes, coaches and even parents find themselves making a bad social media decision. Not only can these posts danger their own reputations but some posts can be outright harmful to others. Sure, the right tweet can get you more followers and a proper post can get you thousands of likes, but if it is an inappropriate tweet or improper post you can be in danger of being kicked off your team or worst expelled from your school. So what can you do? Stay off of it? Well, that’s easier said than done! In this day
and age, social media is essentially part of everyday life.

In fact, reports show that 94%of college athletes are on social media every day of their lives.

So, rather than quit cold turkey, let’s go through some alternative ways in which you can properly manage your social media habits.

First, it should be noted that you should always view social media as an extension of who you are as an athlete. Keep in mind that future coaches, and even future employers will be looking at your social media habits.

Did you know that in a recent survey, 91% of employers have admitted to using social media a screening process for employees?

Are not college coaches and athletic directors future employers? You bet they are! And you can bet that they’ll be taking a look at what you’ve posted, before they make a decision to offer you a scholarship.

Clean up your social media pages up by deleting any post that may contain improper language or any improper images. When in doubt always follow the age old rule WWMT – What Would Momma Think before posting anything? Always ask yourself what your parents would think of what you are about to post.

As an athlete, you may have a bigger role in social media than what you believe. Your posts are not only seen by your teammates, but by your own coaches, athletic directors, and even rival players and fans.

So here’s a few tips for you to use as you start thinking of what to post and what not to post.

For starters, don’t give too much credence to opposing fans! As an athlete, you’re likely going to be the target of some negative posts. Don’t let these posts get you down. In fact, if you’re the subject of some mean tweets, it’s likely that these fans see your skills as a threat, and thus consider you a serious player, worthy of their attention in the first place.

You pour your heart and soul out on the field; don’t let the perception of yourself be ruined by posting something inappropriate because of an emotional post.

Sleep on it, and wait until the next day to post what you’re thinking.

Second, be sure to acknowledge your teammates, fans and coaches. It’s likely that some of, if not all of these parties are following you. Be sure to show them gratitude – it will go a long way in the locker room, and will likely earn you respect from the local community.

While social media can serve as a loudspeaker for poorly thought out posts, it can also be a supremely powerful tool if you use it in the right way. Rather than let it stifle you, use it to your advantage, and let it become a stepping stool for the next stage in your journey as an athlete.

“By the age of 13, as many as 7 out of 10 kids will quit playing an organized sport, because it is simply not fun anymore.”

- The Aspen Institute Project Play