Many high schoolers still don?t grasp effects of social media

At this point, coaches probably feel like they?re banging their heads against a wall. Not only because they have to stay on top of their program?s Facebook and twitter accounts but also because their recruits still don?t understand the ramifications of their posts.

Last week, the Friends University head women?s track and field coach, Cole Davis, tweeted ?[?] I have lost count of the amount of athletes I have stopped recruiting due to their social media behavior.?

I?m not sure how much more evidence you?re going to need.

I think the reason coaches place so much stock in Facebook, Twitter, and other social media is because those are sites where you can curate an image of yourself that makes you look the best. Your Facebook profile isn?t your real self, but it?s a place where you can make people think it?s your real self. And if recruits can?t put forth the effort to make themselves look good in a virtual world, what makes coaches think they can do it in a real world?

I follow a bunch of Newton High School athletes and followed kids from around the state as part of my last job with CatchItKansas (shameless, ego-fueled plug: follow me on Twitter at @Charden13) and I don?t understand. I don?t understand why someone would, for example, live-tweet a break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Not only do I not need to see that, but nobody needs to see that. Twitter is not your diary. Talk to your friends about your heartbreak; don?t subject journalists and potential scholarships to that.

I can?t tell you how many times I?ve read through my timeline and said aloud, ?What? I can?t understand what that means.? I know what bae, avi, low key, dry, salty, RN, IG, lit, and the countless other non-words high schoolers use on Twitter means. Why I can?t understand those Tweets and Instagram posts (another shameless, ego-fueled plug: follow me on Instagram at @clint_harden) is because the grammar and misspellings are so bad. I know you guys go to school. I know it?s a requirement to take at least one English class in four years. Your teachers work so hard. Can you not learn the difference between there, their, and they?re? How about to, too, and two?

Your and you?re.

And for crying out loud, use a period or a comma so you sound somewhat intelligent. I know you are intelligent. I?ve talked to maybe hundreds of high school student-athletes over the past four or five years. The vast majority of you are so intelligent and have the world by the string. Please, for your coaches? sanity, for your future coaches? sanity, but most of all, my sanity, pay attention in English class and think about the consequences of what you?re about to write on Twitter.

Each high school student has the potential to land a scholarship; don?t shoot yourself in the foot because you?re re-tweeting and favorite-ing videos and photos that are highly inappropriate for me to mention in the newspaper.

Twitter is a great place for you to promote yourself. Take advantage to show off how awesome you are. If you have good grades or someone got a great picture of you at a game?whether you?re on the field or in the student section?that?s a great thing to brag about.

Everyone is rooting for you. They want to see you succeed, and if someone doesn?t want you to succeed, you don?t need that person in your life. But make sure that your Facebook and Twitter don?t get in the way of your future successes.

People are watching and analyzing you. The main question they?re asking is, ?Do I want this person to be a part of my program??

Whether that program is athletic or academic, that?s the question people are asking when thinking about offering you a scholarship. Do your best to make sure the answer is ?Yes.?

– Clint Harden, Newton Now sports editor

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