Blog

Cyberbullying and Student Athletes. We need to #ChangeTheConversation

Earlier this year we spent some time with Purdue University student-athletes, educating them about how they can use social media in a positive and impactful way. One of the things we spend several minutes on in our social media trainings is how to deal with hate and criticism. As with most things in our sessions, it could easily be it’s own hour-long discussion.

Purdue recognized that and wanted to go deeper. Throughout the semester it was something they noticed was occurring often and they didn’t want to sit idly by. After a few discussions, we ended up coming back to do a session solely on cyberbullying. We looked at some statistics, the long-term psychological impacts and how practical ways they could be intentional in fighting against it. We looked at the impact this is having in college athletics and acknowledged the reality that this was happening on their own campus.

Cyberbullying is an awkward thing to talk about. It’s uncomfortable and easy to tune out. To be honest, I had a lot of anxiety about this session. I didn’t know how they would respond to such a heavy topic. It turned out to be one of the more powerful sessions I’ve ever been a part of. Purdue’s student-athletes were not only engaged, but they opened up about their own experiences. Several acknowledged that they had been cyberbullied, to the shock of their friends sitting around them. For maybe the first time, they felt empowered to speak up about it. To realize that they had done nothing wrong, that there was nothing wrong with them. They embraced the fact that the one thing they could not do was remain silent. It was a significant moment.

Out of this discussion came the idea for a video. Purdue wanted to to address this situation not only with their student-athletes, but with the community of college athletics. So we sat down and put together a script and recruited some of their student-athletes, who jumped at the opportunity. They plan to push the video on their social channels, but also show it on the video board before competitions. They are taking a stand against cyberbullying, owning their role in changing the conversation.

Kudos to the administration and the student-athletes at Purdue for being proactive with this issue. It’s on all of us to #ChangeTheConversation.

 

 

Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an comprehensive social media marketing strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 70 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.

 

 

4 ways student athletes can deal with haters on social media

One of the arguments against allowing student-athletes to use social media is how accessible it makes them to fans. Fan, of course, is short for fanatic. To say that people are passionate about sports would be quite the understatement. Online, that passion and fanaticism can and is taken to extreme, and sometimes flat out disturbing levels. We’ve seen “fans” wish death upon athletes through Twitter, call them racial slurs, tell them they are horrible and should give up their scholarship, and any number of other criticisms you can imagine.

Tweets like this are unacceptable. I’m no legal expert, but I firmly believe that legal action should be taken when somebody threatens to take a gun and 30 bullets to a team bus. This is something the Supreme Court is actually considering.

It’s the ugly side of Twitter for many public figures. In an article on Mashable, Bill Voth of Spiracle Media, who works with a number of professional athletes, had this to say about the topic, “Trolls are getting louder and more powerful, and I think ultimately this is one of the biggest threats to Twitter itself.” He’s right. Student-athletes are humans (and, for the most part, kids). Nobody deserves this type of abuse. If something isn’t done, it may drive public figures away from the platform.

Read More

How many social media platforms should you be on?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest. The list of social media platforms you can be on is seemingly endless. Every time a new one pops up and gains traction, brands start foaming at the mouth about how they “engage” on this new platform.

“They already have 40 million users!”

“That demographic is exactly who we need to reach!”

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!”

To be fair, brands should do their due diligence. You don’t want to get too comfortable with where you are and miss out on what could be a legitimate opportunity to add real, measurable value to your fans. But too often, brands have FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, we stretch ourselves too thin.

To create a presence on a new platform requires us to take time and resources away from our current platforms. As a result we end up being average, at best, on many platforms and great on none. Average, of course, isn’t what we are looking for. Average doesn’t cut it. Your fans don’t want or deserve average.

Read More

Why Coaches Should Embrace Social Media

When we are on campus doing social media education sessions with student-athletes, we also do sessions with coaches and staff. Part of that is to better equip them to have meaningful conversations with their student-athletes about social media use, and part of it is to help them understand how/why they should be active on social media. Slowly but surely, coaches are coming around to the idea that it is beneficial for them to be present on social media. For those who work in social media this seems like a no-brainer, but for many it is still a tough thing to embrace.

One of the topics we hit on with coaches is how powerful social media can be for recruiting. As Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops stated after he was asked why he created a Twitter account in 2012, “Strictly for recruiting. Got to. Gotta reach ’em.”

Read More

It’s time to stop using Snapchat

I’ve sat staring at this screen, typing and deleting, for about 30 minutes. I’ve written probably 20 paragraphs and end up starting over again. And I keep simply coming back to this:

Read More

Announcing new offerings through Fieldhouse Leadership

Three and a half years ago I began a journey. A journey that has taken me, along with friends/colleagues, to more than 65 collegiate campuses to talk with tens of thousands of student-athletes, as well as thousands of athletics administrators. Building and running Fieldhouse Media has been some of the most rewarding, difficult, exciting, stressful, beautiful times of my life. I’m tremendously encouraged about the road ahead for Fieldhouse, which has now become a full service digital strategy and training firm. 

Read More

Protect what you’ve built

While on a recent trip to do social media training with student-athletes at Wichita State University. Before I spoke they had Jody Adams, head coach of their women’s basketball team, get up and speak about winning championships and what it meant to be a student-athlete at WSU.

Read More