I also had an opportunity recently to hear a presentation about the use of social media amongst college athletes, college coaches, and college recruiters. This presentation was quite enlightening. I knew that college athletes were using Twitter and Facebook just like any other college student but I wasn’t really aware that coaches or recruiters were using these social networking services as well.
I’m not sure how I feel about recruiters and coaches using these services to contact athletes. In a way, I think that it is kind of an intrusion into the athletes’ privacy to use these methods to check up on athletes and convince them to go to their school. On the other hand, these athletes need to be schooled on the basics of social media just like the rest of us. They need to know that what they put out there is out there for everyone. They have the right to not accept friend requests from coaches or to lock their account down so that fans from whatever school is recruiting them cannot comment. It might not always be the best choice for them, but it is something they need to think about.
Something that is interesting to me with this topic is how we don’t often hear about current college students having major faux pas on Facebook and Twitter like we do with professional athletes. You don’t see these major mistakes being put out there by college students like Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Cromartie, and Donte Whitner have done in the past few years. Are colleges that much better now at telling kids what not to do, are these stories just not breaking to major media outlets, or are the media outlets choosing not to report on these faux pas? I’m guessing it is number one or two - ESPN has no problem reporting on college kids getting DUIs, marijuana arrests, or speculating on how a players death will affect other recruits (ESPN Reaches New Low Following Death of Alabama Lineman Aaron Douglas).