(2013). SCRA Roundtable: Should student-athletes be banned from using social media?. CoSIDA Digest, 1, 25-29.
This article was so interesting to me because while I have used other CoSIDA articles, I had no idea there was a Sport Communication Research Alliance (SCRA) that now gets together to discuss student-athletes using social media. They talk about different questions they distribute throughout the group and these are discussed by industry experts to make the best decisions as possible. The first SCRA Roundtable question was: “Should college coaches ban their athletes from using social media? Why or why not?”
There are a majority of student-athletes who use social media to communicate on a regular basis (93% from the article). A positive that comes with athletes using social media is giving visibility to the program that they are involved in. While athletes are training with their teams or on their own they (hopefully) are not tweeting as they do so but after a workout they could tweet about how well it went and how much they enjoyed working out with their team and gives positive attractions to potential recruits and to potential professional teams that may be looking at them. Athletes can also make mistakes and tweet or post inappropriate things on their Facebook pages or twitter feeds and give the program and the athlete themselves a bad image but that does happen. Coaches can only post, tweet and reach out so much to potential recruits and also updating everyone who supports the teams on their own. That is why another positive to athletes posting about their time in the program can be very crucial because there are more than athletes than coaches (usually). When coaches do make trips to see recruits or hold camps for potential players that costs money to host and to travel and see the players they potentially want. The great thing about social media posting, tweeting and athletes doing it is FREE!
It does help that our generation is very tech-savvy and can help out coaches and learn how to use technology but not necessarily how to properly use it as a marketing tool for their program. The marketing tool aspect is definitely something all athletes should have access to when they become part of the team in the beginning of the year. (An earlier research post I have done on education of social media with student-athletes). As an athlete and program the personal value that you bring to audiences is very important and that is where the education on how to properly use social media comes into effect at the beginning of the season. “Social media education is a necessary life skill.” -Chris Yandle who is the Assistant AD/Communications at the University of Miami (Fla.). He is exactly right because it is used every single day and while in this class we are utilizing a social media outlet to write about our subject we have chosen and to communicate that to Dr. Phill.
Blair Browning who is an Assistant Professor at Baylor University brings a good point that he uses twitter to communicate things that are happening in his class and if a coach inhibits their players from using social media it is cutting out academics and it is STUDENT-athlete not athlete-STUDENT. I know that one of my professors has a twitter account and he gives updates on there for students who have taken or are taking his class and he either says KNH495 for example or he uses #KNH495 so that those in that particular class look at it and would be interested in whatever his tweet is about. I even had a teammate of mine who used twitter for a project and the more retweets and favorites she got she would get a better grade.
Athletes are responsible for their lives as any other student but are also held to a higher standard because they are student-athletes and should be responsible for what they post. So I agree with a lot of these experts have said in this article to not ban athletes of using social media because ultimately I think it will benefit the programs of athletics IF coaches give athletes proper discussions and education on how to PROPERLY use their accounts.