Here’s a message to the parents of high school athletes out there: the coach of the team at your son or daughter’s dream team may be more social media savvy than your kid is.
NBC’s Channel 11 affiliate in Atlanta this week ran a very interesting story titled, “Which SEC Coach is the Most Influential in Social Media?”
We’ll go out on a limb here and guess that many parents would not assume that highly paid college coaches would spend time messing around on Twitter (the social network of choice for many athletes), but times have certainly changed.
The article ranked the powerhouse South Eastern Conference (SEC) coaches according to their Klout score (a measure of social influence, ranking Twitter users from 1 – 100), number of Twitter followers and number of tweets. The results:
That’s right. 12 of 14 SEC football coaches have personal Twitter accounts. LSU coach Les Miles has 133,000 followers. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has tweeted over 6,000 times. Whether they are manning the account themselves or having their staff do it, they are using it, and probably in two ways: both as a recruiting tool and as a platform for screening potential and current players.
Recruiting tool: Imagine you’re a very good high school football player who hopes to win a spot on the roster (and a scholarship!) at a great football school like Auburn. If you can hop on Twitter and follow @CoachGusMalzahn, you have an instant connection to his thoughts and what the program is up to. If Coach Malzahn, or his appointed tweeter, chooses to follow you back, in all likelihood you’ll have an increased affinity for that program. If you’re a top prospect, they probably will. Also, from the above article:
“college football coaches use the direct message functions to converse with recruits on a daily basis, bypassing a NCAA rule that prohibits the coaches from sending texts to prospects. Yes, it is against the rules to text a high school player, but a coach can talk to him non-stop on Twitter or Facebook.”
Screening: Especially if an assistant coach or member of the recruiting staff is behind that Twitter account, if they’re interested in the player, it makes sense that they will take a close look at his feed – what he has posted and how he interacts with others. Is there trash talking? Party pictures? Does he tweet 100 times per day? All could be red flags that perhaps the recruit is not making football his top priority.
Now a message for high school student athletes: you need to make your online image a top priority. Coaches and their staff are watching. Social media accounts that you don’t use any more or have forgotten about, things about you posted by others, including pictures, and online comments made in jest that look like something more serious can all come back to haunt you. At ThirdParent, we can make sure that your online reputation showcases the best that you have to offer.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.