Are your student athletes tweeting for the future?
It is not just students and student-athletes who are using social media. Look around you and you will notice the real world is also using it. Employers, entrepreneurs, teachers, salespersons, real estate agents, even The Pope. Many athletic administrators and coaches are active online. At the time of this writing, 19 of the coaches of the BCS Top 25 football teams had an active Twitter account (meaning they had tweeted within a few days).
We are living in the midst of a social, connection economy. For the first time in recorded history we have the ability to connect with almost anybody on the planet – for free. That is what social media is. An incredibly powerful tool that connects us with like-minded people around the world. Seth Godin, in his book The Icarus Deception, has this to say about the internet and social media:
The Internet wasn’t built to make it easy for you to watch Lady Gaga videos. The Internet is a connection machine, and anyone with a laptop or a smartphone is now connected to just about everyone else.
And it turns out that those connections are changing the world.
That is the place we have to get to with student-athletes. Right now most of them view and use social media as a toy. Something they talk to their friends on and have some fun with. They don’t realize how powerful it can be, both when used well and when used inappropriately. If we can change their perspective, then we can change how they use these platforms.
There is a real estate agent in Oklahoma City who is one of the top realtors in the area. Over the last three years, 86% of his clients have been generated through social media. He is the most innovative, technology-driven realtor in the city and it is paying serious dividends. The stylist that cuts my hair gets almost 90% of her business from social media.
These are real life business people, building successful careers by using social media well. They are not social media experts or gurus. They are not marketing executives. They are normal people who realized that social media was bigger than simply having a conversation with your friends. They are saving thousands of dollars for their businesses by not having to advertise online or in print. Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and other platforms for them is free. It costs them less than 20 minutes per day and it is driving their businesses.
This is the reality of the working world that student-athletes will enter. We all see the commercials stating that 99% of student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports. With 91% of employers screening applicants through social media, how they are representing themselves online will impact their ability to even get a job. Every day for them online is a job interview.
Once hired, the role of social media again comes into play. Whether they go pro in sales, marketing, HR, healthcare, real estate or education, social media will be a part of their job. As 19- and 20-year-olds, most do not get that. They do not understand the long-term value of building a positive social media identity. That is where we come in. As educators, we have to actually educate.
We have to prepare them for the world that they are about to step into.
This is an excerpt from Fieldhouse Media founder Kevin DeShazo’s new book, iAthlete: Impacting Student-Athletes of a Digital Generation. The book is available now on Amazon.com
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 65 schools utilizing our services for their athletic department, contact us today.
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