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Your Facebook / Social Media Presence: Start Cleaning it Up
Before you contact one school or coach, you must take care of your personal brand. When I was trying to get recruited to play hockey in the mid-90s, we didn’t even talk about personal brand. Basically, if a coach wanted you to be a part of his or her program, all your high school coach had to say was that you were a good kid. As long as your coach didn’t say you were a jerk or a cancer to the team, the college coach took his or her word for it and kept the process rolling.
Today, with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and the entire blogosphere/web in general, you need to be careful about what information/photographs of you is on the web. You are crazy to think that any college coach who is thinking about recruiting you is not going to Google your name and search for you on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other Social Networks where teenagers are “hanging out.” You must do a serious web audit of your online image. Your Facebook profile and Twitter account must be cleared of all content and photos that have the potential to negatively impact your image.
“Don’t try to hide your social media presence, use it to your advantage to be recruited.”
I am a former college athlete who graduated in 1999. I would say the majority of head coaches (and many assistants as well) are either around my age or older. We went to high school and thru most of college before the internet or mobile phones were mainstream. From my observations and interactions with teenagers today, I feel there is a pretty wide disconnect between what information/messages/photos/video they view as appropriate to share in public and what information/messages/photos/video people my age and older believe to be appropriate. Right or wrong, the problem for high school athletes is that the coaches are the ones who make the decision on whether you get recruited to their school. You have to play by their rules and make sure you only have personal content that they deem appropriate or they will cross you off the list.
I recommend taking the ultra-conservative route when it comes to your personal brand and social media presence. Clear out the content and images that could be perceived as negative during the recruiting process, add academic and athletic content that highlights your achievement, ability and character. Don’t try to hide your social media presence, use it to your advantage to be recruited.