Social Media Use of Student Athletes [2013 Survey Results]

There have been a number of studies and surveys done on social media use, most of which are terrific, detailed and informative. Many show the social media statistics of college students but none, at least that I’ve found, focused specifically on student-athletes. Given that the focus of Fieldhouse Media is on student-athletes, I wanted information and statistics specific to this group. Earlier this year, I distributed a survey to a number of collegiate athletic administrators, to then forward on to their student-athletes. I owe an immense gratitude to the administrators who encouraged their student-athletes to participate – nearly 300 student-athletes responded. Some were from major BCS programs, some were from mid-majors, while nearly half were from DII or DIII schools.

Something to keep in mind while reading these results are the recent data provided by Football Scoop oncollege football coaches use of social media, and CoSIDA on how athletic departments are approaching the topic of social media and their student-athletes.

A few takeaways from these results (some of which I was admittedly surprised by).

  • In February 2012, 20% of 18-24 year olds were “using” Twitter on a typical day. In this survey, just one year later, 72% of student-athletes have a Twitter account. 97.4% of student-athletes with a Twitter account are tweeting daily. That’s significant.
  • In light of the Manti Te’o situation, it was interesting to see that 4.6% of student-athletes admit to engaging in romantic relationship with somebody online, and 25.9% said they have met somebody in person that they first interacted with on social media.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (17.6%) have used social media to network/connect for a job or internship. That’s encouraging.
  • 50.9% say they’ve received no social media education/training (in the CoSIDA survey, ~56% said they don’t provide social media education)

The biggest takeaway, which isn’t surprising, is that student-athletes are embracing social media. 93.5% have a Facebook account (and 99% of those that have one post to Facebook daily), 72% have a Twitter account (with 97% tweeting daily), 64.8% have an Instagram account (94% post daily). Throw in Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+, Snapchat and the numbers are stunning.

Knowing this, how is it that more than half of schools fail to provide some form of social media education for their student-athletes? We can write article after article about how irresponsible college kids are and why they shouldn’t be on social media, but at some point we have to realize that we’ve failed in educating them – not just in how to use social media well, but in educating them at all.

These are numbers we can’t ignore. If educated on how to use social media in a positive and appropriate way, about what it means to be intentional about building an online presence, imagine the good that could come – for both the student-athletes and the athletic departments.

Key data points

Number of student-athletes to fill out the survey: 283 Female: 197 (69.6%) Male: 86 (30.3%)

Breakdown by DI/DII/DIII:

social media d1-d3

Twitter Percentage of student-athletes with a Twitter account: 72.2% Of those with a Twitter account: 97.4% tweet at least once per day 64.1% have a public account 23.1% admit to having tweeted something inappropriate (racial, sexual, violence, profanity, drug/alcohol use) 70.51% check Twitter between 1 and 10 times per day (without posting) 29.5% check Twitter more than 10 times per day (without posting) 57.8% have between 100 and 500 followers 3.9% have more than 500 followers 5% have received critical/hateful tweets from fans (nearly half of those have responded to hateful fans)

Facebook Percentage of student-athletes with a Facebook account: 93.5% Of those with a Facebook account: 99% post to Facebook at least once per day 85.2% check Facebook between 1 and 10 times per day, without posting 96% utilize their privacy settings on Facebook 22.3% admit to having posted something inappropriate (racial, sexual, violence, profanity, drug/alcohol use) 70.3% have more than 500 Facebook friends 2.9% have less than 100 Facebook friends

Instagram Percentage of student-athletes with an Instagram account: 64.81% Of those with an Instagram account: 94.3% post at least once per day 60% have their account set to Private 14.3% admit to having posted something inappropriate (racial, sexual, violence, profanity, drug/alcohol use)

Other 19.4% use Google+ 20.4 use LinkedIn 52.8% use Snapchat 11.1% use Tumblr

4.7% have engaged in a romantic relationship with somebody online 25.9% have met somebody in person that they first interacted with on social media 17.6% have used social media to network/connect for a job or internship

How many hours of social media training/education have you received?

sm training athletes

 

Fieldhouse Media is a firm dedicated to helping student-athletes and coaches use social media in a positive, appropriate way through education and monitoring. To find out more about us or to join the over 30 universities and athletic conferences utilizing our services, contact us today.