Athletes at any level are trained to deal with the media. Whether that training includes how to properly handle questions in press conferences, or through online media, athletes everywhere are trained to know how to represent themselves, as well as their respective organizations when addressing the media and their fans. However, that training is often lost when dealing with social media. What most athletes do not understand is that being trained and equipped to traditional media is very unlike that of the social realm. Because of that difference, the idea of immediacy takes the place of a detailed, well-constructed message. Nowadays, athletes social media audience is often bigger than the following of traditional media outlets which often leads them to talk more freely without the basic understanding or formal training of how to effectively use social media to their benefit.
With the growth of social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram, athletes now can open up their lives to their fans on a far more personal note than what it seen on their playing fields, or through interviews held on most traditional media. That reach now calls for a greater responsibility for athletes to be weary about what they post because that information now becomes public, leaving an already popular persona even more gullible to public scrutiny. Athletes have a greater potential to become people of influence off of the field now with a greater audience to take into account.
The article linked below discusses these points further and includes topics for which an athlete can be trained specifically when handling their social media accounts. What do you think? Is social media training crucial for professional athletes, or does that violate their opportunity for free speech?