2015 College Athlete Social Media Statistics

If you’re a sports fan, you probably know that some athletes tend to have a loud voice and large following on social media, particularly on Twitter and Instagram, where the real-time nature of the platforms are ideal for informal updates and fan access.

A new survey by Fieldhouse Media reveals what we already knew – that it’s not just professional athletes who are active on social media. College athletes are active online as well.

basketball-collegeThe survey polled nearly 1,000 college athletes about their social media use and habits. From a high level you can see a potential problem:

  • 43% spend at least one hour per day on social media
  • 45% say that they have had no social media training

Particularly at the Division 1 level, where schools have large athletic budgets and high profile reputations to maintain, it is disappointing to see that more kids are not receiving guidance on appropriate social media use. It is time for this to change.

College athlete social media use is spread pretty broadly across platforms and apps. Percentage of respondents who use:

  • Facebook – 94% – 29% use it the most
  • Snapchat – 89% – 21% use it the most
  • Instagram – 81% – 33% use it the most
  • Twitter – 73% – 13% use it the most
  • Yik Yak – 37%
  • Vine – 29%

What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, survey respondents freely admitted that everything they are doing and seeing online is not as pure as the driven snow.

  • 37% regret something they have posted in the past
  • 41% admitted posting/sending something inappropriate on Snapchat
  • 8% have witnessed a teammate being cyberbullying
  • 6% have checked social media during a game

When many adults think of social media, they’re thinking about Facebook. While the Facebook numbers are still strong, the platform appears to be in decline, at least with this cohort: 63% report using Facebook less than they did one year earlier. The Twitter numbers are down vs. last year as well. Some of the options they are gravitating to such as Snapchat (ephemeral) and Yik Yak (anonymous) may make it easier to post without the risk of being found out. Neither is foolproof, though.

As teens and young adults move away from Facebook, the older generations will have a harder time keeping up. It’s high time that we got student athletes the training they need to self-police their social media activity. And although student athletes obviously have a lot at stake, that goes for all teens and young adults.




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