In the day and age of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we are fed a great deal of information. By scrolling through these apps, you can discover what your preferred sports personality is up to in less than 30 seconds. Never has society been more connected to each other. Scientists have proposed that everyone on the planet is connected to everyone else by six other people. According to the numbers that Facebook crunched, every person on Facebook is connected to every other person by an average of three people.
Professional sports personalities have constantly been in a different category than celebrities. Nevertheless, it can be clustered under the same. Specifically, the sporting superstars of national teams are considered celebs. Now that social networks have ended up being a part of our lives; it’s not a surprise that lots of athletes now use different platforms to daily engage with their fans and share their daily activities. Just one post each day to their fans will bring corresponding financial advantages. For numerous athletes, they have no choice in what goes on social media and who’s saying what about them. Athletes 10, 15, 20 plus years ago didn’t have to deal with this. They had to avoid mainstream media after a loss. Nowadays, everyone can put out to the world their opinion, and they have a direct link to reach the person that message is intended for.
While fans enjoy this unfiltered and transparent feedback from their favourite athletes, there are benefits and drawbacks to professional athletes utilizing social networks. Professional athletes need to be conscious of what they post and how they use social networks.
Recently Sri Lankan cricket head coach Mickey Arthur was left fuming and prompted his players to stay away from social networks and their negativity. “There are some idiots out there who think they know everything. But they know nothing,” said Mickey Arthur, as quoted by Sri Lankan reporter Rex Clementine. And recalling the past year, it was a year filled with social media drama fueled by players and at times their spouses coming into the fray. Sri Lanka cricket fans recently launched an online campaign to shun their team on social media after a series loss versus England and the controversy surrounding a particular incident regarding three players. As the hashtag #unfollowcricketers started to trend on Facebook, countless fans boycotted the Facebook pages of few cricketers and shared memes asking each other not to watch the Lankan team on tv.
Social media for young athletes typically begins in college. Athletes utilize social media to make connections, network and get their name out there. Generally, these sports personalities start to get a large following within their school circles. Throughout and after their college sports career, they can utilize social networks to self-market, develop a personal brand, and promote themselves. Social media can be a crucial networking tool for assisting professional sports personalities in getting the much-needed eyeballs from the masses. These personalities that create favourable buzz draw more fans and are most likely to be taken on by a prominent team and make the bigger brand deals.
Fans are directly communicating with their favourite players. They can now add a mention through a post or direct message them expecting a reply. In the past, it was mainly through direct fan mail. And that was a lengthy process. Today’s fans demand a genuine and transparent view of their favourite players, and social media allows them to get up close and personal with them. Athletes can thank fans, give them glimpses into their personal lives, and have positive discussions with them to develop a long-term fan following that could land them large sponsorship deals from world-renowned brands.
The Dark Side
Despite the many advantages, there are still some negatives of social networks in sports. Harmful content spreads out more quickly than ever before; players may have no idea of using social media properly; negative remarks from fans might impact the efficiency of the athletes or the team, etc. Many cases show that using social media amongst professional athletes requires being trained, and one lousy post can considerably affect the athletes and the sports organizations. All in all, social networks are still in their infancy and will continue to evolve and grow. Sports fans and professional athletes, in addition to sports organizations and clubs, embrace social networks as the essential tools to promote, interact and communicate to fans. Globally, sports merchandising is a huge revenue generator, and social media is a considerable drive to its success.
Social media has reported its fair share of stories about famous professional sports personalities entangled in sexual assaults, physical attacks, drunk driving, and other criminal activities. In addition, the private lives of professional athletes are laid bare in public, and this is dangerous, and it can ruin the personal relationships that a professional athlete has with other individuals. Social networks are tracking every single element of a professional athlete’s life. Social networks have also produced a lot of misconceptions concerning athletes.
Social networks can negatively impact a professional athlete’s life, leading to poor athlete performance. As always, lots of famous and gifted sports personalities are targets of social networks. Just average sports personalities might not get the spotlight as superstars and could avoid being analyzed under a microscope by fans. Champions who are interested in mastering their skills and making it to the top take criticism every day. When professionals win, there is a lot of appreciation and criticism also. When they lose, more criticism follows them. A few of this criticism in social networks can leave a professional athlete demoralized. Professional athletes will, in most cases, receive a lot of attention from gossip sites and social media on the way they play and perform, what they even wear to an event or tour, the kind of relationships they are currently in, as well as any other things involving their lives.
There are plenty of reasons for professional athletes to have beef with one another, and the ones that matter are the ones that start in the heat of battle throughout a game and end in the field, not ones that occur because in social networks. All too often, fans notice players talking wrong about each other due to something that was said on social, causing public display. Players and officials have also ruined the Element of Surprise to the fans. Gone are the days of going to work in the morning and coming home to get your sports news during the main news segment. Thanks to social media, now essential information about players and their retirements and news gets leaked online even before an official statement is out.
Professional athletes are held to a higher standard compared to the typical social media user. With super fans observing what athletes post or upload, there is a continuous eye watching all their actions and interactions. Social media gives people more of a direct line to talk trash towards an athlete, and if an athlete reacts to those unfavourable posts, they will also be criticized for doing so. Social media can play a favourable role in an athlete’s life, but only if they use it to their benefit. Everything boils down to if you’re mature enough to utilize it or have knowledge of its repercussions because when you hit that button, you can’t retract that statement you put out to the world. Social media is just another added thing coaches and athletes need to be worried about continuously; soon, everyone will know its effects and need to be educated on using it effectively.