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Social Media (Your Online Reputation)

About a month ago I blogged about a Student-Athlete’s Online Reputation.  After that post I received quite a few emails from parents and coaches asking for guidelines or suggestions for handling ill-advised tweets or posts that could jeopardize a student-athlete's spot on a roster and even a college athletic scholarship.  

As a result of the feedback from that blog post I created a Social Media Playbook.  The playbook outlines the Top 10 things every player should consider before posting on Facebook or Tweeting on Twitter.  

Is it the definitive outline?  Absolutely not.  It is simply a guideline for a player to follow to insure better online habits.
If you are a high school football player or athlete of any high school sport you need to need more to survive than just talent and good grades.  If a college is willing to offer a scholarship they want to be certain that they are investing in a player that will not only deliver on the football field and in the classroom but also a player that will represent their school in the best possible way.  This is the primary reason that college coaches and athletic departments monitor future prospect’s social media habits. Poor social media skills can be that wrecking ball to a player’s scholarship dreams.  
The dreams can be realized by education and common sense. 

Here’s what I consider to be the Top 10 points in developing a positive online reputation that compliments the player’s athletic and academic abilities:

  1. Think before you post. It is a simple piece of advice but one that is the most important.  Any form of anger or passion should be a clear indication that you should take a step back, clear your head and delay posting or tweeting until you are calm and thinking in a clear, rational manner.
  2. Post only thoughts and pictures that you would feel comfortable sharing with of a large group of people that you might not know.  You should also feel comfortable sharing the post with your family, friends and neighbors.
  3. Always err on the side of caution.  If your content could not be shared comfortably in a face-to-face conversation or a telephone call then it most likely would not pass the bar for being acceptable on any social media site.
  4. Be Respectful of those who might view your post.  Although you have the freedom and the right to post that also comes with responsibilities.  Language, slurs, racial or religious overtones-anything that would reflect poorly on yourself, team, school and community should be avoided. Do not promote hate.
  5. Protect your identity.  Create a separate email address for your social media networking. Provide as little personal information as possible such as phone numbers, date of birth, home address, etc.  You could be opening up yourself to predators.
  6. Make sure that you have permission to post an image that is not yours before putting it out on the internet. We live in a litigious society and copyright infringement is something you will want to avoid. You are personally liable for any copyright violations committed, such as posting photographs, audio, or video that is not your personal property.
  7. Re-Tweeting, reposting or sharing profanity is no different from using it in your own original Tweets or posts. Don’t do it.
  8. Smile in your avatar or background picture! Remember, you are selling yourself and the chance to create an initial good impression with a future coach, admissions director or recruiter.
  9. Avoid game related tweets or posts on game day. Make it a habit. It could make life and in game situations a little easier.  Your teammates will appreciate it as well.
  10. If you cannot spell a word or if you do not understand its meaning or proper usage please up the word and its meaning and usage.  If you choose to do the extra leg work please do not attempt to use the word in a post. You're telling us more than you realize.