CSUF athletes getting reality check on social media etiquette

In Men's Soccer, Sports, Sports, Women's Volleyball
(Kayla Alcaraz / Daily Titan)

Just because communication on social media is quick, the process is not fool-proof, said CSUF junior Felicia Marshall, women’s volleyball outside hitter.

“You have to be really careful with what you like (on Twitter) because everyone is watching,” Marshall said.

Sports teams at CSUF have policies in place regarding social media, but they also have meetings with media directors and compliance officers as well as team meetings to address any issues that arise, according to George Kuntz, CSUF men’s soccer head coach.

“We have a policy on the team. We don’t want to post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see. We talk about it quite often. We have a rulebook that we give our guys that talks about social media,” Kuntz said.

One problem that notable athletes are facing is that once something is on the internet, such as a Facebook post or a tweet, the post will exist forever, sometimes even after the post is deleted because of the ability to take screenshots.

During the MLB All-Star game in July, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader took a lot of heat for tweets that had resurfaced from when he was in high school. Many of the tweets were said to be racist, sexist and homophobic, including one posted sometime between 2011 and 2012 that said, “I hate gay people,” according to USA Today. Hader received harsh criticism from the media and fans of the game.

Kuntz said there is a program called FACE, which stands for Fullerton Athletics Career Expo, that all student-athletes go through to help understand the severity of their social media presence beyond college.

“With FACE they talk about (social media) as well. They set up interviews with businesses and every year they have to submit a resume,” Kuntz said. “They talk with student athletes about how businesses check your profiles and how that can rule you out of a job. I think student-athletes are more aware of the negative effects of social media than non-student athletes.”

There are many ways to still be active on social media for athletes. One way to do so is by posting things and retweeting posts related to designated sports, which is exactly what Samuel Goni, CSUF men’s soccer forward, does.

“I pretty much just post about soccer because we represent school when we come here, so we have to think about what we do,” Goni said.

Goni is the leading goal-scorer this season for the CSUF men’s soccer team, and is currently in his senior season with the team. He said his knowledge of social media use has grown since joining the team.

“I have been learning a lot of things and now it is more of a habit when I am liking posts,” Goni said. “I pretty much only use it for soccer, I’m not really following other accounts. It’s the easiest way to avoid making mistakes.”

Student-athletes are not the only ones that have to be careful with social media, as many jobs and businesses are also checking applicants’ social media accounts before offering employment, according to Business News Daily.

Kuntz said he is excited to see how the evolution of social media will impact the future.

“It is going to be fascinating in the next five years what social media evolves into and what changes,” Kuntz said. “That will be a fascinating study for me.”

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