For the past 4 years, we’ve surveyed collegiate athletes at every level about their social media use. You can see results from 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. This year we had more than 2000 student-athletes participate. This information is useful for administrators, to help you understand how and why this generation of athletes uses social media, but it is also helpful for us. This data informs how we structure our sessions and message to student-athletes, in order to be relevant and connect with them in a way that has a true impact. This is how we have become and continue to be the most trusted resource when it comes to educating student-athletes on social media use, and why more than 120 programs have utilized our services in the past 6 years.
We’ll do an analysis of this information in a later post but the results are clear: social media use is on the rise (no surprise) and there is still a significant need for social media education. There’s a tendency to believe that because this generation of athletes has grown up with social media, that they know how to use it well. For most, that simply isn’t the case. Understanding how and why to use social media well only comes through intentional education from someone who actually understands and uses social media.
Here are the results of our 2017 survey on the social media use of college athletes.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been compiling data on our third annual survey looking at the social media use of collegiate student-athletes (can see the results from our 2013 survey here and 2014 here). This isn’t a perfect science but it does allow us a good look into how college athletes use social media. This helps us be more effective in our social media education and training sessions, and also provides valuable insight as we help athletics departments craft social media strategies.
This year we had nearly 1000 student-athletes participate. We owe a huge thanks to the administrators who passed on the survey and encouraged their student-athletes to take it, and of course to those who took the time to fill it out.
Here are the results of our 2015 survey on the social media use of student-athletes:
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.