Category: Social Media Education
It is August 1, 2016. That means NCAA Bylaw 13.10 is now live (note: this is only for D1). What is 13.10? Here’s the breakdown from our compliance friends at Purdue (follow on Twitter @boilerbylaws).
Early on in our company history, we realized that the need for social media education extended beyond student-athletes. We added sessions for coaches and staff as a way to equip them to educate and empower student-athletes throughout the year, but also to equip these individuals to use social media with purpose. From AD’s to SID’s, compliance to marketing, backlinks to guest posts, development to ticket sales, GA’s to head coaches, employees of the athletics department are active on social media. And what they do online impacts recruiting, media relations, fan engagement and more.
A video posted to the Twitter account of NFL prospect and former Ole Miss football player Laremy Tunsil cost him anywhere from $7-12 million dollars. The video, posted just minutes before the NFL draft started, showed what was believed to be Tunsil smoking weed through a gas mask bong. Not only does this go against the contract but also the health brand deals and the rules of the game as well. Only if he had used of the 180 Smoke vapes, he could have avoided such a massive hit to his career.
We recently published the results of our 2016 survey on the social media use of student-athletes. Thanks to the more than 1300 college athletes from every level of competition who took the time to take part in the survey. If you are a coach or administrator, take some time to dig through the numbers. It’s our 4th year to do this survey and the information, we believe, is really valuable. It gives us good insight into this group as it regards to their social media habits.
Some highlights/takeaways from the results
Each year since 2013 we’ve compiled survey results from college athletes about their social media use. As we spend time on campuses around the country, it’s important that we continue to pay attention to trends in the platforms they use and their behavior on these platforms. The information is also important to coaches and administrators as they are the ones spending time each day with the players. The more informed they can be, the better and more relevant their conversations around this topic will be. We can’t have coaches out there trying to have a conversation about the use of MySpace and expect student-athletes to pay attention. You can see the results from 2013 here, 2014 here and last year here.
We collected responses over the last few weeks. In total, we have over 1300 student-athletes respond. We’ll analyze the results in a later post, but here are the numbers.
As we head full speed into a new year, it’s always good to step back and reflect on the previous year. To understand where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. And, hopefully, to celebrate. Thanks to you, 2015 brought us many reasons to celebrate.
Kirk Herbstreit, in my opinion, is one of the best analysts in college football. He knows his stuff, he relates well to fans, he let’s you know where he stands, and he has fun. I’m a big fan. That said, Kirk – and the media members, coaches and administrators who agree with him – needs to re-evaluate his position on student-athletes using social media. Kirk went on ESPN Radio this morning on the Mike & Mike show. When asked what advice he would give to coaches, he had this to say (courtesy of 247 Sports):
“My recommendation in the future for all coaches – and I don’t know if you could control this – is get players away from social media; college players,” Herbstreit said. “Because what I find is it’s counterproductive. And I know it’s freedom of speech and you guys should get on this topic some time. And I don’t know how you’d control it. But I’ve never seen a team as active as Ohio State on social media and kind of going back-and-forth, whether it’s the fans, or media, or whatever it might be.
“You can say it doesn’t affect you, but at the end of the day it does. I would do everything in my power if I were a coach in today’s climate to say, ‘Hey guys, camp starts August 1 and your phones and social media, they get put on the sidelines until we’re done playing. You’re not going to engage. You’re not going to get involved. Because there’s nothing good that comes out of that.’
“I think in some weird way, that may have had some sort of impact on Ohio State, because those guys, they were tweeting more than they were practicing it seemed like sometimes. Those guys were really, really active – and kind of cute – on social media. And they need to put that away. All teams, in my mind, needs to put that stuff away.”
“It’s not always what they tweet out and what they send, it’s what they read and what people can say to them is the thing I have a problem with.”
Many things keep administrators up at night. One of those things, not surprisingly, is what their student-athletes are doing online. “What are they posting? Who will see it? Will I get an email at 2:00 in the morning about it? Will I wake up to find one of our players on Deadspin for something she tweeted?”
What players post is out of the control of administrators and coaches – no matter what policies you have in place. It’s one of the main reasons social media education is so important. Given how much time college students spend online, and how much of a magnifying glass is on what student-athletes post, we must be intentional to educate, equip and empower them to use it well.
In our leadership sessions with teams and departments, we use a tool to decrease gossip and drama. It’s a visual tool that asks 3 questions.
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 .
Last week we published the results of our latest survey, looking at the social media use of college athletes. With nearly 1000 participants, the data gave us a good look into where this group is spending their time online. There are a few takeaways from the data as it relates to both the education of student-athletes on social media and how we reach this audience from a marketing and communications perspective.
In terms of education, we’re seeing that 43% spend more than an hour on social media each day with 37% of them saying they’ve posted something regret. Meanwhile, 45 have had zero training/education on social media use. This plays out in that 48% believe Yik Yak is anonymous and 41% have posted something inappropriate on Snapchat, which implies that they believe that it is private and pictures actually disappear.