The Importance of Keeping a Clean Social Media Footprint as an Athlete
by Emily Stiemsma, on Dec 16, 2018 11:38:57 AM
In 2012, my freshman year of college, Instagram was just starting to be a thing. Since then, the platform and others have exploded in popularity. Social media has given me the chance to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. It’s allowed me to create my personal brand, and to keep up with my friends & and family virtually since time doesn’t always allow for in-person get together's.
However, with all the good also comes some risks. And for student athletes - the risks are magnified. Okay, okay, I know you’ve heard this before, so why do these social media fails keep happening?
What you put on your social profiles is you telling the world what you are all about. Yes, the world; coaches, parents, family, friends, strangers, and future employers.
Do I sound a little dramatic? Good. Because the problem with this is that the pictures and captions posted on your social media don’t portray the entire you, they just cast an idea that can easily be misinterpreted.
From the mistakes of others and the mistakes of my own - a millennial myself, engulfed in this social media world, I have some advice on the importance of keeping a clean social media footprint.
Keeping Your Opinions to Yourself
I had a teammate who always took to social media to express her feelings. First, some passive tweets about teammates or playing time sprouted up. Next, a massive Facebook status on her opinions of a coaching decision - which of course got back to them and she was ultimately addressed about it. The status went down and she wasn’t proud or tough following, she was embarrassed. People can see right through the passive comments on social media. Maybe not all of them, but eventually you will be held accountable! It never ends well.
Consider keeping a private journal to express your frustrations. This allows you to vent and reflect on how you’re feeling, but not broadcast it to the world and regret it later.
Have you recently been strolling through Instagram and seen rude comments on someone's picture? One bad thing about social media is that it’s given people an avenue to spew hate anonymously. Be a part of the community that uses the internet for uplifting people, not tearing down. Even one poor comment could cost you a job in the future.
My opinion, stay out of any social drama. Even if you try to stand up to a cyber-bully you are giving them what they want, a reaction.
Filter Your Social Life
Just last month I purged my Facebook albums from previous years (turning almost all of them private). Why? Well I couldn’t believe how intoxicated I looked in the images. At the time, I thought I was showcasing the fun I was having. Leaning heavily on my girlfriends, big laughs - holding a red cup. I was of age so while it was legal, I’d be more than embarrassed if those surfaced and were seen by my employer or family.
You might think you look great in that image but sloppy is not a good look - keep it private. You will thank yourself in the years to come.
If you aren’t sure what can be discovered of you online, Google yourself! Are you okay with what you find?
Here are some other steps to take moving forward:
- Consider making your accounts private
- Be aware of the posts you engage with, like or comment
- Be sensitive to controversial topics
- Test yourself - have a friend “creep” you and see if they find anything distasteful
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