Microblogging, such as the use of Twitter, has become a huge crave in the past few years, resulting in many heated debates over what is and isn't considered an appropriate use of such communication tools. For many athletes, the use of Twitter has caused them more harm than good due to their inability to filter what they have to say over the web. The American public is very aware of which athletes within our various professional leagues have a loud mouth and a tendency to state whatever is on their mind. It can be great fun at times to post something childish and entertaining to tease an opponent, yet it can turn down right ugly when people take it too far.
In my opinion, the use of Twitter can be very beneficial for posting live feeds of major plays during a professional game, such as displayed on sports entertainment accounts such as ESPN, Sports Nation, Fox Sports, and so on. This use of communication technology can keep any fan up to date on play by play action even when they're away from home and have no access to view a game on TV. However, as soon as players begin using their accounts to post taunting comments and subjective responses towards one another, it begins to break down their image. Thus displaying a type of persona that we would never want our youth to be exposed to, especially considering the way most young people view their favorite professional athletes.
Imagine if your son or daughter idolized a certain professional athlete, as did I when I was younger, of whom inspired him/her to get outside every day and work hard to achieve something great. But then your son/daughter sees an explicit post of that particular athlete's Twitter account, whether it be on the internet or over a discussion on Sport's Center on the television at home. What do you think goes through their mind at that point? ..."If my favorite athlete says and does this and that, then it must be ok for me to do the same..." Here lies the problem with microblogging in athletics. When athletes take it too far because they can't filter their thoughts and opinions, it then affects a multitude of young people who may look up to them. Then the parents are left wondering why their children are acting out in school and talking back at home when asked to pull their weight around the house. I know this issue was started well before the creation of Twitter, but it doesn't mean we can't strive to improve the way we utilize microblogging and other forms of web communication, especially Facebook.
Remember that someone is always following your tweets, reading what you say, and analyzing who you are,. We must strive to uphold ourselves to a higher standard so others may look to do the same. Be that person that young people will look up to as someone who portrays something special, which can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Regardless of your "status" in society, whether you are an athlete or a business person, or whatever else, remember that a young person may be looking up to you for guidance. In a era run by social media, the best way to guide our youth is to direct their actions when using tools such as microblogging. It begins at home, and hopefully it can be changed through education and athletics as well.
by, Steven Waite