As athletes grow into their talents, they may be in the public eye more than they realize. It’s smart to proactively think about the impact social media can have on their personal and athletic lives.
There can be pressure on athletes to use social media during their events. While it is great to entertain fans and give real-time updates, there is a potential risk. A great deal of focus is needed for athletic events and while the athlete is posting on social media, this could be thrown off.
Responding to fans’ comments could go one way or another. It could really pump up the athlete and make them feel like they’ve got a group of fans rooting for them and they want to perform well for them. Or, it could make the athlete overthink everything. Their focus is gone and they are thinking about all the people they will let down if they do xyz wrong.
There’s also the chance that the athlete has a few people who do not like them. Bullies are everywhere and have a huge voice on social media. Their mean words can instantly be delivered. Negative comments can be harmful to the athlete’s mental state.
Anything that causes an athlete to lose focus can cause an accident.
While it is a good idea for athletes to use social media to keep fans interested, informed and up to date, posting during the event may not be the best time.
Four Things to Keep in Mind:
1. It’s a tool, not a toy. Social media isn’t just something for one person’s own entertainment. It should be an asset to help the individual’s brand, community, team, etc.
2. Nothing is truly private… ever. There are people who realize they are functioning in public and those who don’t. Some think they can delete a tweet or post, but this content can last forever. It can be captured in screenshots or saved by other users. Keep in mind that anything shared could end up being shared to the public.
3. If you retweet it (or share it), you own it. Yes – no matter if you really don’t care one way or another. Freedom of speech does not mean equal freedom from consequences. Even if they aren’t your own words, you could be suspended or suffer another type of consequence for inappropriate posts.
4. Personal branding: Every tweet reflects who you are. How does the athlete represent themself? Are they sending the right message to the public? People are watching their posts more than they know, so encourage them to think about what their social media portfolio says about them.
So, what is your take on social media and your athletes? What experiences have you had?