Student-athletes need to behave appropriately at all times and in all forums. They should be particularly aware of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, or other emerging technologies. In fact, enough cannot be said about the importance of being aware of these emerging technologies. Anyone can post a picture of another student, and an athlete whose exploits are publicized on Facebook might lose a scholarship offer.
Follow these best practices when using social media:
1.) If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it then Don’t post it.
2.) If you even hesitate for a second to post it, Don’t. There is a reason you hesitated in the first place.
3.) Make sure your default picture (and all others) are appropriate.
4.) Your Twitter handle and Facebook name and URL should not include profanity or slang.
5.) Privacy settings only go so far. Social media is public, always keep that in mind.
6.) Respect yourself and respect others. You are conversing on a public platform after all.
7.) The laws of the real world still apply in the world of social media, i.e.; underage drinking is against the law, harassment, hate crimes, cyber bullying, etc. Remember that teachers, coaches, teammates, peers, and other important influencers are watching and listening.
8.) ReTweeting profanity is no different than using it in your own original Tweets. Don’t do it.
9.) Avoid replying to, or ReTweeting Twitter users with vulgar names.
10.) Is who you are representing yourself to be online, who you want the world to see you as? Be a responsible social media user.
11.) Don’t allow a hater to bait you into a “social beef.” Ignore them and remember their actions are usually fueled by jealousy.
12.) If you don’t like something a media member wrote about you, your coach or your teammate, ignore it. Engaging in a public Twitter of Facebook argument is a battle you won’t win.
13.) Consider opinionated topics off limits. Avoid commenting on sexual orientation, race, and religion.
14.) There are many other teams and student-athletes at your school. Take the time to give them a shout-out when they do big things.
15.) What happens in the locker room stays there. Things that are said in private team settings should never find their way onto social platforms.
16.) Don’t tweet or post during class. That’s like disrespecting someone (in this case, your teacher) behind their back. Always be mindful that your teachers may be monitoring your social accounts.
17.) If your coaching staff and/or athletic administrators give you guidelines to follow for Twitter and/or Facebook, be sure to trust and follow them closely. Your team and staff has your long-term best interests in mind.
18.) Your athletic compliance office is monitoring your social accounts. The NCAA has acknowledged that it monitors student-athlete activity on Twitter as well. Even if you don’t compete in a major conference or a revenue sport, don’t be fooled into believing nobody is paying attention.
19.) Multiple mentions of the same business could be considered an endorsement, which is impermissible according to NCAA legislation.
20.) Act as a representative of your sport and your team and always maintain a professional profile.