Today marks exactly two years since I bought the fieldhousemedia.net domain. The .com was purchased in 2007 by some guy in New Jersey. I emailed him two years ago and he said that he “had plans” for the domain. It still sits empty. 6 years after he purchased it. I’m not bitter.
I didn’t know if Fieldhouse Media would work. I had failed at one business. I didn’t know anybody in college athletics. I was in a pretty bad place. I’ve already touched on all of that here.
But I saw a need for student-athletes to be educated on how to embrace and use social media well. Other companies/people providing the service weren’t using social media and, to me, that was unacceptable.
So we launched. Social Media education was Phase 1. Two years ago, I had an idea and no public speaking experience. In the past two years I’ve spoken at over 40 campuses, conference meetings and conventions to over 25,000 students and staff. Crowds from 75 to 3,000. That blows my mind. I am beyond grateful for the schools who have embraced the idea that social media doesn’t have to be the bad guy.
I got a message from a college athletic administrator recently, asking about another person who provides social media education/training for student-athletes. After learning that this person had spoken at their conference meetings, he was concerned that he couldn’t find anything about her on Twitter.
This is a topic I’ve pseudo-touched on in the past, but feel it needs to be attacked directly.
Do you need to use social media in order to teach others about social media?
The easy answer is, of course, no. If somebody is going to pay you, you can do whatever you want. It doesn’t mean you know what you are talking about, but clearly neither do those paying you. Who are you to stop them from wasting their money?
Over the last year, a number of states have introduced legislation designed to protect the social media privacy of student-athletes. California, Michigan, New Jersey, Delaware, Arkansas, Utah, New Mexico and Illinois have passed legislation - Illinois, which was passed last week, awaits Governor Quinn’s signature. Legislation is pending in several other states.
As some who educates student-athletes on social media use, I’m a fan of these bills/laws. As Deadspin noted in a number of articles here, here and here, these bills are needed. Companies have been started with the sole purpose of monitoring the social media activity of student-athletes.
Most of them work by way of an app that student-athletes are forced to install on their social media accounts, which then gives said company access to every bit of information on the account - whether or not it is password protected/private information. Email address, phone number, birth date, posts, pictures, videos, friend lists, relationships, calendar of events - all of it.
They don’t need passwords for their app to work. They just need the student-athletes to download/install it.
Yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds. Can you imagine if your 19 year old daughter or son was being forced to allow some stranger to have access to his/her Facebook account? Not good.
Christine Brennan of USA Today recently wrote on the hate that athletes receive on Twitter. Her main argument was that the media and sports fans have made far too much of these rants.
The topic of social media rants against athletes, specifically student-athletes, is something I’ve written about before.
Brennan’s piece, however, misses some serious points.
In discussing Twitter attacks on Andrew Wiggins, the 18 year old basketball phenom who chose this week to play his college basketball at Kansas, she chose to focus on the number of Twitter followers of those attacking Wiggins.