Do you use social media as a recruited high school student-athlete? Do you think that you can post anything that you want on Facebook because all of your stuff is private? Do you believe that anything you say on Twitter is just going to be seen by your friends? Do you feel that any Instagram pictures you take will not be seen by anybody?
Do you think that anything you post on any social networking/media site does not affect you as a future NCAA Division III student-athlete? You are wrong, think again!
First, social networking sites are not really as private as you think and people can get access and see what you are posting. More and more college coaches at all levels are looking at what their recruits are posting on social networking sites as part of the recruiting process. Why? It is very simple; one of the most important aspects of the recruiting process is learning about your personality and how well you would fit in to the team culture. If a coach does not think that you are a good fit, then you are likely to see less recruiting action.
For example, suppose you post things on your social networking site that is racially, religiously, or otherwise offensive to a specific group of people. If a coach becomes aware of this and he/she has a team that is racially diverse, religiously diverse or just generally culturally diverse and tolerant, how is he/she going to react to that? Do you think it will be favorable?
Don’t just take our word for it. In the January/February issue of the Soccer Journal, Dr Wendy Lebolt had an article published entitled “Players #exposed on #twitter may find #collegecoaches passing them by”.
In it she says “an increasing number of coaches are looking (at social media sites). Some are using it conservatively.” Where one coach interviewed said “they absolutely check Twitter, Instagram and everything we can find. But we do tell them during the recruiting process” to make student-athletes aware.
This is especially true if a college coach is recruiting a student-athlete and their may be some “red flags”. From the article, checking social media is “Not something that I always do, but I think if we had already seen a red flag elsewhere, we might look to confirm/deny that impression with Facebook/Twitter/etc.”.
Now really…. you think that the old gray haired coach you have been talking to is not tech savvy and doesn’t know Facebook from Twitter from Instagram? Think again. From the article, Jay Martin head coach at Ohio Wesleyan since 1977 says “I am a technological moron” but “I utilize my tech-savvy captains and assistant coach to screen recruits using social media. We have actually stopped recruiting a few players due to inappropriate comments and pictures.”
The bottom line is this— don’t post anything online that you don’t want a college coach to see, because they can and will find it. This can affect your college career as well as your job search in the future (they look too) because social media is here to stay and once you post something, it is out there for everyone to see.
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