Whether you like it or not, social networking sites have transformed the way young people act. How they portray themselves, how they connect with others, and how they engage with their favorite brands or celebrities has all been influenced by social media.
It is also hard to keep track of the amount of social networks there are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, Pinterest, and probably several more. As young athletes share more and more of their lives and interests on social media, it is important to take a moment and reflect on how their choices could affect their recruiting process.
Athletic recruiting is tough – you are competing with countless other talented and bright high school students for a limited number of opportunities. Finding ways to stand out is an important trait that prospective student-athletes need to foster. An easy way to stick out, but in a negative way, is with social media use. Making questionable decisions on social media can severely hinder a prospective student-athlete’s chances at a scholarship.
College coaches of all sports are regularly discussing prospective student-athletes that are being considered during the recruiting process. Coaches will go through the pros and cons of that student’s athletic ability and educational background along with their personality and how they would fit on the team. One aspect that is always discussed is social media presence. Any showing of illegal activity or irresponsible behavior serves as an instant red flag and almost always nullifies the student from consideration.
When used properly, social media is a valuable tool for expressing one’s self. Each platform can be a great vehicle for people to express thoughts, interests and creativity with one another. There is, however, a line of which to remain conscious.
The ability to tell the world your thoughts in 140 characters or in a few motions of a keyboard disengages the ability in many people to stop and think. Inhibitions like heightened emotions often lead social media users to express frustrations and opinions publicly, often resulting in a troubling situation. The better way to approach social media is to take the time to stop and think through your activity.
The ability to stand back from the immediacy of social media and give appropriate consideration for the words we use is an important skill to have. Once you enter college as a student-athlete, the scrutiny and microscope only gets stronger. You will be representing a school and a team, not just yourself.
Our biggest words of advice is to think of your social media presence as a personal brand. Think about whether or not your posts are contributing to the brand you are trying to establish.