Athletes and Social Media. The Good and the Bad.
Published by: Malik Martin
Social Media is a great tool for athletes to build and promote their brand, communicate with fans, raise awareness about important issues affecting society, and give everyone a glimpse into their personal lives. When used properly, social media is a powerful asset that can unite athletes, professional sport organizations, and fans like never before.
There are many benefits associated with using social media; however one must be careful how they use it. Social Media is a double edge sword that can help or hurt an athlete’s career depending on how it’s used.
One example of how powerful social media is when used for good is the ice bucket challenge. The ice bucket challenge became a natural phenomenon in 2014 because of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The challenge involved pouring a bucket of ice water on your head, and then challenging your friends via social media. As a result of this challenge more people became educated about ALS, and donations started pouring in. From July 25th, 2014 to September 15, 2014, ALSA recieved over $114 million dollars in donations. http://sites.tufts.edu/publichealth/2014/09/18/the-als-ice-bucket-challenge-the-impact-of-social-media-on-health-communication/
Another example of how powerful social media is when used for good occurred when the Boston Police department used twitter to track down the Boston Bombers. The Boston Police Department used Twitter to keep everyone updated and informed about what was going on.
These two examples truly capture how effective social media can be when used properly.
There are several examples of athletes who made poor decisions with their social media accounts and had to pay the price. Athletes can lose endorsements, scholarships, and damage their brand, based on the things they post on social media. Here are some examples.
Rashard Mendenhall (Former NFL running back)
In 2011, Mendenhall tweeted to his Twitter followers “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”
This was referencing the killing of Osama Bin Laden. As a result Champion dropped their sponsorship with him.
Paraskevi Papachristou (Former Greek Olympian)
In 2012, Papachristou tweeted “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes from the West Nile will be having homemade food.” This was an attempt by Papachristou to be humorous, but it ended up being racist. As a result of this tweet, Papachristou was kicked off the Greece Olympic squad.
These two examples illustrate how athletes can land in hot water based on the things they post on social media.
When it comes to social media the positives outweighs the negatives. The problem is all you hear about is the negatives. Social media can help athletes gain exposure, secure endorsements; promote their brand, communicate with their fans, and show off their amazing personality. Athletes must be responsible when using social media. Think before you tweet.
(2014 .)The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: the impact of social media on health communications. Retrieved from Tufts University. http://sites.tufts.edu/publichealth/2014/09/18/the-als-ice-bucket-challenge-the-impact-of-social-media-on-health-communication/
Quinton, S. (2014). Top 10 dumbest and must regrettable athletes tweet ever. Retrieved from The Richest. http://www.therichest.com/sports/other-sports/top-10-dumbest-and-most-regettable-athlete-tweets-ever/10/