Being a college athlete can bring you a lot of rewards and accolades, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. Just because you have the ability to share every aspect of your life with millions of people with the click of a mouse, does not mean you have to. Remember that regardless of what you may think, your coaches, teammates, competitors, school administrators and many others are reading your tweets. If you are playing Division 1 sports, there are likely a lot of other people reading your tweets as well. Think of professional teams who may be looking at you, brands who may want to work with you if/when you turn pro and kids who just plain idolize you. Lots and lots of people!
These are a few Twitter Tips For College Athletes that we suggest you follow carefully.
1. Remember that you are just like a brand and in fact you have a personal brand that defines you. Make sure that you are creating that brand with end goal in mind. Don’t tweet nonsense that you would skip over yourself.
2. Before you hit the tweet button, pause for one second and think about how your mother or father would feel about what you just said. You are not alone out there and many people in many walks of life will see what you just tweeted.
3. Always remember that as a student athlete you not only represent yourself, but your school, coach and teammates as well.
4. Speaking of them, do not tweet anything they say in confidence or in private. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and what happens in the locker room should stay in the locker room.
5. Don’t be afraid to use your mobile phone to send text messages. Things that are private should be sent via text to people you know. Only tweet things that you want to be out there in the public view…forever!
6. Keep it clean. You can say the same exact think without the profanity. It may not feel as good to vent without it, but it will serve you well in the future.
7. Of course you would never violate any rules or laws, but in the unlikely event you do, don’t share it with the world on Twitter. There are hundreds of stories of careers ruined and scholarships lost over stupidity on Twitter.
8. If you have a Baby Mama and you are having some drama, keep it to yourself or remember that cell phone. the world does not need to hear how much you hate her.
9. Speaking of hate, don’t spew it…ever..on any topic. If you don’t like school or you coach, you are free to make a move. Stop complaining about things you have no intention of changing.
10. Don’t Tweet daily about how hard you’re working on the field/court/diamond/weight room/etc. If you were really working that hard, you wouldn’t be on Twitter to tell us all about it.
11. If you would not say it in a media interview, don’t say it on Twitter. Locking your account is no guarantee that people will not share what you say. Assume they will.
12. Don’t get into a Twitter war with some knucklehead who is trying to bait you into saying something stupid. Just ignore it or block their account.
13. Avoid controversy. Politics, race, religion and sexual orientation are generally a slippery slope. If you want to see how quickly controversial tweets spread, remember what Rashard Mendenhall of The Pittsburgh Steelers tweeted?
14. If you want a solid lesson on what the results of stupid tweets can do to your future, just take a moment to remember Marvin Austin of UNC
15. It’s the morning of a big game/match, you feel like you have the flu and it looks like you won’t be playing tonight. Don’t announce that on Twitter. If you compete in a revenue sport, Tweeting something like that will have ripples that reach all the way to the Las Vegas sports books.
16. Don’t Tweet after a tough loss. You pour your heart and soul into training to become a champion, and losses are emotionally draining. Sleep on it. Your followers will still be there tomorrow.
17. One of your Twitter followers may be in a position to hire you or draft you one day. Think to yourself if what you are writing would make them think you are someone they would want to hire or draft.
18. Don’t bitch and moan about how hard your life is. You are getting an education, traveling to cool places, getting free gear and much more. Most people would give their right arm for those things.
19. Don’t Tweet daily about how hard you’re working on the field/court/diamond/weight room/etc. If you were really working that hard, you wouldn’t be on Twitter to tell us all about it.
20. Avoid replying to or ReTweeting Twitter users with vulgar names. Do you really want to be associated with @oddfuckingtaco, @BigPhatBooty or @herpesboy?
Now here are a few more that could actually get you into big trouble with the NCAA
21. If you have an ass kicking Twitter background and you got it from someone who normally receives money for making them, then you could be receiving an improper benefit.
22. Never allow yourself to be photographed with a drink in your hand. If you are posing for a photo, put the drink down or put it behind your back. There is no way to prove you were drinking water when questioned the next day.
23. Your athletic compliance office is monitoring your Twitter account. And the NCAA has acknowledged that it monitors student-athlete activity on Twitter as well. Even if you don’t compete in a major conference or a revenue sport, don’t be fooled into believing nobody is paying attention.
24. It’s OK to Tweet once about what a great dinner you had at a local restaurant, but multiple mentions of the same business could be considered an endorsement, which is impermissible according to NCAA legislation.
25. Share Twitpics when your team takes part in community outreach projects. But it’s important to remember that all students entering ninth grade and older are considered prospective student-athletes (PSAs), and should not appear in any Twitpic (for men’s basketball, PSAs are all students entering seventh grade and older).
Now a couple to keep the coaches off your ass.
26. If you feel like the Twitter guidelines your coaching staff and/or athletic administrators expect you to comply with prevent you from “keeping it real,” then that should probably be your cue to re-evaluate your definition of “keeping it real.”
27. Twitter can be a tattle-tale. For instance, you told your coach you missed a team meeting because your phone’s battery was dead and you didn’t get the call/text about the meeting. But if your Twitter timeline shows a Tweet from a mobile app during that time, you’re busted.
There are so many more rules you should know and review frequently before you Tweet. Here is a great list of 100 Twitter Rules to Live By written by @darrenrovell
When you are ready to get serious about your future and want to understand how to build a solid social media foundation to serve you into the future, check out our slideshow called Athletes and Social Media.