We’ve all heard the warnings about social media postings before. Whatever is posted on the internet stays there forever. You can never truly delete something. Those posts can follow you forever.
But I’ve heard some rumblings recently about students getting in trouble for things they are posting on social media, so I’m here to heed those warnings again.
Especially in the case of student-athletes, it’s so important to be extremely careful what you’re putting out there for the world to see.
Kids do stupid things when they’re in high school. They experiment with things they shouldn’t; they sneak out or skip class or drive too fast when they first get their licenses. Everyone knows kids make mistakes — we’ve all been there before; don’t let your parents tell you any different. That being said (and I’m going to sound like an old lady here now), back in my day, when we did stupid things like telling, they weren’t posted online. We weren’t yoked to our cell phones and we weren’t glued to Instagram and Snapchat.
If I told my mom I was to sleep over at a friend’s house and really I was going to stay out all night, it wouldn’t even occur to me to post what I was doing on social media because those things just didn’t exist. I didn’t even have a Facebook page until I was in college, and when social media really started becoming popular, my parents certainly didn’t get it.
Anyway, I’m definitely not encouraging high school students in our area to sneak out of their house or lie to their parents, but also, I get it. I’ll never be a person to say I was an angel in high school, so I understand. But don’t post about it on social media!
Again, especially in the case of student-athletes, it’s that much more important to be careful because it’s not just your parents watching your social media accounts trying to catch you in the act, it’s also your potential recruiters, your coaches, your opponents and your teammates.
Don’t just think about it like the message you’ve always heard about how potential future college coaches are watching your accounts, but think of it like this: Everyone is.
If you’re mad about something a teammate did in a game, don’t take to social media to rant about it. He’s probably going to see it or at least hear about it. If you think your coach made the wrong decision about something, don’t blast her on social media (parents should probably listen to that advice too); I guarantee it’s not going to help your case.
I’m not saying don’t be a human on social media. People are allowed to have opinions. If you ever take a look at my Twitter account, it’s 80 percent about high school sports but the other 20 percent is reserved for the rest of my life — my thoughts on the Caps or movies I’ve seen or events I’m attending, whatever. It’s OK to have opinions, but just be cautious and know sometimes your opinions won’t be taken well.
I’ll leave you with a funny social media story about me. I once was covering a high school basketball game and went to the bathroom, which was decked out in pink paint and green tiles. I tweeted what I thought was a funny, innocent tweet with a picture of the restroom and the caption, “Hey Fannett-Metal, 1954 called and they want their bathroom back.” Funny, right?
I offended so many people by that tweet; there was an entire Facebook thread dedicated to how horrible of a person I was.
Now, I don’t take it back. I still kinda think it’s funny. And I later found out the bathroom was actually built in 1952, so I gave them a couple years.
But my point is just think before you tweet, Snap or put something on Instagram. Make sure you can defend it and you’re OK with whatever reaction you get because it may not always be what you expect.
Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor of The Herald.