Social media is a huge part of high school culture these days. Many students are active on a variety of social media sites from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. And while these sites offer a ton of benefits, it is important to be aware that they also have pitfalls. In the current highly competitive scholarship climate, a negative social media presence can be the difference between receiving a college athletic scholarship and not getting any offers. Here are a few things to remember before hitting the send button on your next tweet (or retweet!):
- You never know who’s reading your posts. Just because a tweet or Instagram photo was meant for your friends doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who will see it. In fact, many college coaches now look at student athletes’ social media profiles as part of the recruiting process. In the words of Marymount University coach Brandon Chambers, “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship.”
- Sometimes it’s not what you say that matters so much as how people interpret it. Because you don’t know who’s reading what you’re writing, you can’t necessarily defend yourself if people misconstrue what you’re saying. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Cyber world conversations can have real world consequences. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, in public in the real world, don’t say it online.
- Just because you delete it doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Not only can people take screenshots, but also sometimes old links remain on the internet.
- A retweet can be just as detrimental as a tweet.
- Always avoid using vulgar language, references to drugs or partying, trash talking, complaining and anything that could be construed as sexist or racist.
- Social media can be a great way to thank those who have supported you including friends, family and teammates.