Well this is a surprise – or maybe it isn’t. Depends on your point of view.
A living legend, the basketball coach from Duke University Mike Krzyzewski, admitted this week that he uses an alias on Twitter to track his players. He didn’t admit as much but we can assume that he is also using Twitter to track potential high school recruits. According to a story at Sporting News, Coach K. admitted to ESPN that:
“I follow guys,” he said. “I don’t want to be on Twitter because I don’t care. I don’t want their opinions. I don’t need to show that I have X amount of followers. But I follow a lot of people on Twitter, under an alias. I tell my guys I’m following you. Then if I see something, you text them, you gotta watch.”
From what we’ve seen, a lot of highs school athletes don’t get this. They view Twitter as their private soapbox – even when their account is public – to tweet all sorts of inappropriate things:
- Taunting opponents
- Foul language
- Retweeting or favoriting inappropriate content posted by others (Hey, it was funny!)
- Content that is or could be interpreted as being hateful, racist or homophobic
- Underage drinking and drug references
- Anything that makes you look like less than a serious student athlete
Doing an of the above doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, but it might make you look like a risky choice for that scholarship that you’re after.
In Coach K.’s case, he is not a social media aficionado – he is just doing it to cover his bases. You can bet that he has someone of his staff that is a digital native; who tracks players and recruits diligently looking for signs that existing players might hurt the program or that potential recruits might be a bad risk.
Student athletes’ social media can be a great platform to raise visibility and connect with a program that they want to play for. It doesn’t come without risk, though.
By keeping everything professional and presenting the image of a player that the school wants to attract, social media in general and Twitter specifically can give student athletes a boost while avoiding the pitfalls.
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