Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – You name it – Social media, in many respects, is taking over the way we attain knowledge, the way we access information, the way we use our time, and the way we express ourselves. I suppose this is due to the fact that as society changes, so do the entities within it. Changing times equates to the need for adapting and simply rolling with the way that things unfold. Social media has become mainstream in societies across the globe. With so many users and interactions on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up. It’s hard to even think that email is still such a prominent use of communication given the way that social media has completely transitioned into the social world.
Daily usage and interactions on social media are informative and useful in some respects, but in others, well, not so much. The young generation often referred to as “Millennials”, have the finger pointed at them for having such admiration for social media. With this deep admiration comes inevitable usage of the devices that are explicitly presented. Not all usage of social media, as we can all reasonably conclude, is particularly positive. In fact, sometimes, the content that is expressed and publicized on social media by young people is simply deplorable. Athletes are not excused from this reality or conversation – They too, in most cases, are young people who are utilizing these accounts for unfavorable and defeatist purposes.
So, with these different realities being pointed out, it still is rather baffling that no one wants to address a simple yet very important question that is on the minds of many – Should players’ social media accounts be monitored? – I find this to be a fruitful and intriguing question that needs a solid and concrete answer. This article will endeavor to do that while rationalizing the premise with various points that could be discussed rather than dismissed.
Athletes are not average people – let’s call it for what it is. Athletes have a desire within them that is unexplainable, and in so many cases, athletes represent an organization, a brand, a club, and a team. This representation is not singular in nature – In fact, it is the total opposite seeing as it is untypical for a single person to have such a great amount of people behind them. That being said, if an organization, brand, club or team has certain principles that they want to abide by, and if they want to be understood by the public in a positive light, then why aren’t we monitoring players’ social media accounts?
The answer, to the question of this article, is very simple – Players’ social media accounts SHOULD be monitored. I have a hard time accepting other positions that contradict this one for a few reasons.
- Number 1 -> FALSE REPRESENTATION -> A player who puts something negative on social media is reflecting their organization, brand, club, and team in a pessimistic way. This is a big no-no.
- Number 2 -> PUBLIC EYE -> Athletes, as mentioned prior, are not like other people. They are viewed in the public eye as unique and special individuals. To have innaprporiate content on social media is simply unacceptable.
- Number 3 -> JEOPARDIZING FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES -> Though players may be young and rather inexperienced when it comes to life, the thing that needs to be realized is that the choices they make now may cause them to have haunting demons in the future. Future coaches, clubs, organizations, and employers will see players’ social media accounts. And guess what? – If it’s bad, then you’re done – No second chances.
- Number 4 -> ACCOUNTABILITY -> Players who post content on the internet that isn’t conducive to their sport are actually doing themselves a tremendous disservice. When social media accounts are monitored, this keeps players accountable – If someone may see that you’re engaging in rather poor behavior, then it is more likely that you will not post such content or put yourself in vulnerable positions to be misrepresented.
- Number 5 -> PROPER FRAME OF MIND -> Being exposed on the internet in ways that are socially understood as shameful simply shows that a player is not focused on their sport but is focused on other activities that are not aligned with what they should be doing. This causes many negative effects on performance and overall play as players move forward.
Am I suggesting that athletes shouldn’t have fun? No, not by any means – In fact, I think athletes should have fun. However, negative content posted to social media should not be tolerated and should not be allowed. If it happens, there must be consequences (see reasons for this opinion above). The challenge that we currently face is that there are restrictions to this opinion, particularly for those under the age of 18. The list is long, but essentially; we can’t invade privacy, it’s nobodies business even though it’s made public for the world to see, it’s immoral to view such profiles of younger people – The list goes on – And, with that said, it’s all jargon, excuses, and fluff. It doesn’t make any sense. Athletes who are held to a high standard yet post inappropriate content to the internet should be held accountable. Some situations do not allow coaches, managers, club representatives, or other stakeholders to intervene and do so.
A good thing to recognize here, though, in spite of the bad talk, is that social media accounts can be used for good. I believe athletes should be on social media if they choose, but they should be posting nothing but good, inspiring, and appropriate content. After all, athletes are recognized and regarded as some of the most prestigious people in any community as they provide entertainment while bringing people together through play.
It’s a hard point to argue, but is argued nonetheless; however, players should have their social media accounts monitored for reasons of plausibility and accountability. If athletes wish to move forward as positive role models, then they must be willing to accept this reality. Organizations, brands, clubs, and teams must also be on this wavelength in terms of ensuring that players are not posting negative or inappropriate content to the internet that may jeopardize the integrity of the name that’s on the front of the jersey. It’s a touchy point/subject – I understand – but we need to have accountability on many levels – This, simply, is one of them.