Today we have a guest post from our friend Morgan Crutchfield. Morgan is a writer and photographer who studies the dynamics of social media and sports. Find her on Twitter @CentralMorgan. Enjoy!
Social Media can be a scary thing to tackle as a coach; the need to address athletes’ social media usage may be overwhelmed by fear of failure to cover all the issues or intimidation related to opening a Pandora’s Box by talking about social at all. Attempts to create guidelines start to look like exercises in making long lists of don’ts and the ever-changing landscape of apps and platforms seems to create more work and more room for error. But as we learn more about athletes’ relationships with their teammates and peers, we’re learning that a restrictive social media plan is not only not effective for teams, it fails to capitalize on the power of positive social.
While there is certainly value in setting boundaries with your players and possibly even providing examples of social media disasters to prove the point, educating on what not to do should only be a small part of the plan. Because while social media can be a gateway to some exceptionally negative consequences for athletes who use it only as a megaphone for poorly thought-out posts, it can also be an incredibly powerful set of tools to help athletes build both team unity and self image.
Where should you start? Like any skill on the field, wise social media use starts with practice, so I’ve developed a “drill” that will help your athletes understand how to use social media for good and at the same time will utilize the networks they’re on for hours at a time .