For Student-Athletes and Social Media, Power Rests in the Words of Educators

February 16, 2012 Kevin DeShazo Social Media Education Tags: , , , 0 Comments

There is a considerable amount of negative attention given to student-athletes and their use of social media (specifically, Twitter).  Daily, I tweet out links to stories about coaches banning it, how dangerous it is for student-athletes to use it, how there is no value in kids using it, sports writers talking about how kids are too irresponsible to use Twitter and should have it taken away, details of the mistakes that student-athletes make online. 1 link out of every 15 might be positive (and I’m probably being generous with that ratio). In just the last 72 hours we’ve seen an AHL player suspended, a college football team ban Twitter, and a journalist describe student-athletes and social media as a “dangerous combination.”

Everybody has an opinion. Everybody is an expert. Everybody, apparently, uses Twitter perfectly. Other than student-athletes, of course.

With so much negativity surrounding it, with student-athletes being told that there is danger around every corner, that they are going to screw up their own image as well as that of their university, how can we expect anything besides negative results?

When you are constantly told you can’t do something, you eventually believe it to be true.

What’s amazing is how we tell these kids just the opposite when it comes to sports, academics, life. “Work hard, stay focused, be disciplined. You can and you will be successful. The only thing stopping you is you. We’re on your side, we believe in you, we know you can do it.”

That changes things, right? So why the mixed messages with social media? As educators, our words hold significant power.

What if we encouraged them, empowered them, educated them?

What if we told them how powerful of a tool social media can be when used properly?

What if we told them that social media is being used to fund movies, to build companies, to change the world?

What if we told them that if they worked hard at it and were disciplined with it, that it could create endless opportunities for them.

What if we told them that we believed in them, that we were on their side, that we were for them?

What kind of change would we see?

What kind of stories would the media write about, then?


Fieldhouse Media is a firm dedicated to educating student-athletes and coaches on how to use social media in a positive, appropriate way. To find out more about us or to join the growing list of schools utilizing our services for their athletic department, contact us today.

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