Online Now 1203

Reality of social media

I’m not disturbed by rap music or any of the other music young folks like these days. My parents hated the music to which I listened as a teen-ager, called it noise. When my parents were teen-agers, I suspect my grandparents felt the same way about their music.

Senior Editor Phillip Marshall

I’m not concerned about the latest styles in clothes, hair or the latest slang. It’s all part of growing up. But for young athletes heading to college, this is a very different time. Danger lurks around every corner.

Twitter and Facebook have become part of the fabric of their lives. They speak their own language on social media. Unfortunately, they sometimes seem to forget that everything that comes from the keyboard can be read by, literally, millions of people.

In my business, prowling the Twitter and Facebook accounts of 18-year-olds has come to be accepted as a legitimate part of being a reporter. That’s OK to an extent. If a player posts on Twitter or Facebook that he has left a team or has suffered an injury, reporting it is certainly fair game.

But …

Putting your own spin on what someone posts or tweets without talking to the person who posted it is not OK. Sadly, that has also become part of what some view as legitimate reporting.

If I was giving advice to a college athlete at Auburn or any other big-time school, I would tell him or her, hard though it might be, to stay away from social media altogether. At the very least, I would suggest they make their accounts private so that they can control who sees them. There are too many adults out there who are willing to trample on college students to make names for themselves.

Brooks Melchior, best-known as the Brooks in SportsByBrooks, does that very thing on a daily basis. And he is not alone. The world has changed. And if you’re a prominent college athlete, you’d best recognize that and deal with it. Otherwise, words you deem as innocent or fun can come back to haunt you in a big way.

Is that fair? No. But it is reality

Already have an account? Sign In