Tag: social media training
People want access to student-athletes. Whether it’s following them on Twitter, friending them on Facebook, or calling them. But what access should be allowed? When you ‘friend’ somebody on Facebook, you allow them to see a significant amount of personal information, including: email address, phone number, birthdate, friends, relationship status, family history, calendar of events. – not to mention every picture and video you appear in.
If you don’t know somebody, they have no right to view your personal information. It’s my personal strategy to not friend anybody on Facebook that I have not met in person. If you want to connect, follow me on Twitter. That’s as much access as you need until I determine otherwise.
It’s something we tell student-athletes in our social media education sessions. On private social media platforms, don’t friend/add people you don’t know. There’s no award handed out for the person with the most Facebook friends.
Some schools monitor their student-athletes’ social media activity, while others outsource it to firms like us. It’s an understandable strategy, but shouldn’t cross the line of invading privacy. With our monitoring service, we never access private information of student-athletes. Never.
Delaware, California and New Jersey have passed laws to prevent this, and other states are not far behind.(UPDATE: Oregon, New Mexico, Arkansas, Utah, Illinois, Michigan have now passed similar laws)
When it comes to monitoring, ask yourself, “Would I be ok with this if it were my 19 year old daughter being forced to friend and/or give some random company access to her private information?” The answer, of course, is no.
The problem is that most student-athletes simply don’t understand the available privacy settings or their rights. They should never be asked or forced to give access to their private accounts. For Facebook, here’s how they can make their profile private.
Note: this post has been updated to reflect Facebook’s rollout of Graph Search, effective October 2013
First, login to Facebook, click the on the padlock that now appears at the top right. This brings up the new privacy controls menu.
First up is “Who can see my stuff?”
In a recent blog post, I wrote about how social media education is more than just what to tweet and what not to tweet. That it’s about leadership and character development. About helping student-athletes understand the impact of their decisions, both online and off. About giving student-athletes a purpose for using social media well, beyond simply avoiding a meeting with the coach or compliance department. When you strip it all down, for student-athletes (or anybody) to be “successful” on social media, they have to answer two questions:
Who am I?
What do I want to be known for?
That’s it. Those two questions direct and guide not just how you use social media, but how you live your life. Like an athlete, your strength comes from your core. These questions get to the core of who you are, guiding how you approach relationships, your work, your family . Social Media is just one piece of that puzzle. An extension of you.
As social media continues to make it’s way into our everyday life, more schools are realizing the need for social media education – for both their student-athletes and their coaches/athletic staff. They are realizing that their student-athletes are an extremely public extension of the athletic department, with their tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pics and even “disappearing” snaps available to the viewing public. Clearly this is a good thing, educational institutions investing in education. The problem has been in the approach. Too often, athletic departments have approached social media education from a compliance perspective. “Don’t tweet this, don’t post that, don’t do this, don’t get in trouble, don’t make a scene online, etc.” It’s essentially a surgeon general’s list of risks.
The problem with that approach is that warnings don’t result in productive behaviors. Telling a student-athlete what not to tweet isn’t the same as showing them what it means to use Twitter (or any other platform) well. I know not to take my eye off the ball during my golf swing, but how can I actually improve my swing?
Social Media education for student-athletes is not a session on, “tweet this, not that.” Social Media education is about character development. It’s about understanding what it means to make good decisions on a daily basis, not just online but offline. It’s about realizing the impact that our decisions have, and that we have control over our reputation.
Another day, another column about how student-athletes should be banned from Twitter. This time, fromBleacher Report. This is a topic we discussed at CoSIDA. Banning social media is a strategy that is not only ineffective, but is based out of fear and lack of education. Address the lack of education, eliminate the fear. This quote from the column struck me:
Ultimately, Twitter is a great tool for many. It will continue to be a major news source for college football going forward.
For student athletes though, it’s more drama then universities, fans and coaches need.
Twitter is great, but not for you, student-athlete. You shouldn’t use it. You’re incapable of using it well. You’re just going to create problems.
Each week I’m lucky enough to have conversations with Athletics Directors and SIDs from across the country – from D1 powers to NAIA and D3 programs. One of the first questions I ask when discussing their student-athletes and social media is, “How well are your student-athletes using social media?” The answer is always some form of the following:
- They do a great job. We haven’t had to discipline anybody.
- I think they do a good job. We haven’t had any major issues yet.
- I’m in awe of the things they post online. They definitely need help.
- We’ve had a couple of issues. Once we adjust our policy, I expect things will change.
Notice a trend? We are defining success for our student-athletes on social media as “not getting in trouble”. Is that the correct perspective?
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?
I’ve previously touched on the issue of the role social media can play in helping (or hurting) an individual get a job. 91% of employers admit to using social media to screen applicants. 68% have hired a candidate because of what they saw on their social media profile. The reasons? The persons, through social media, appeared “well-rounded, gave a positive impression of their personality, showed solid communication skills.”
We ‘ve all seen the NCAA commercials informing us that 99% of student-athletes go pro in something other than sports.
There has been an ongoing debate regarding protected (or private) tweets versus public tweets, and where the accounts of student-athletes should land. Note: This conversation is completely different on Facebook, where you have more control over your privacy settings, and where your personal info can be visible to those you connect with.
Public accounts are just that, public. Every tweet can be read and shared (or Retweeted). If your account is set to “Public”, anybody can follow you on Twitter. Anybody with internet access can read your tweets, even if they don’t have a Twitter account.
There’s a growing trend, and it’s a good one, where universities are investing in software that monitors what their student-athletes are saying on social media. This issue came about after UNC was sanctioned by the NCAA for a “failure to monitor social media.” How does it work? You plug in certain words that you don’t want your student-athletes mentioning on Twitter. It could be anything. Violence-related, sexual, drugs, alcohol, agents, money, etc. When a student tweets something with one of your “red-alert” words, somebody in the department gets a notification and you deal with it appropriately.
It is something we offer through FieldTrack, our real-time monitoring service where we also track what is being said to and about your student-athletes by 3rd parties. This is to help ensure compliance with your department’s social media regulations (remember – the NCAA does not have any social media guidelines), as well as to protect the image of your student-athletes and uncover opportunities for continued education and discussion. Missing a game is not near as severe as losing out on a future job because of an unfortunate tweet.