The power and reach that social media provides to athletes has forever changed the sports world at every level of every game. Professional athletes are building massive and engaged fan bases in record times. College athletes are using social media to build power and notoriety while they are still in school, which can work to their benefit when they are ready to step into the professional ranks. Even High School students are using social media to reach fans, but more importantly to market their talents to college coaches that were previously beyond reach.
The truth is that today social media has empowered athletes at every level to talk to a much wider audience than just a few short years ago… and therein lies the danger. With this new power and influence comes both responsibility and liability. Most athletes simply are not trained to understand the responsibilities that go with communication on this new global stage. In the past, sports stars built their reputations over time, but in the social media age, they can build them overnight. They can have the whole world talking about them in a matter of hours or even minutes…but will the talk be negative or positive?