We all know the internet has just about everything and anything you want to know. As a recruit and athlete its good and bad. Good because if you're a big name the fans are going to know close to everything about you. Its bad because the fans are going to know close to everything about you. Social media is hottest thing right now. With facebook and twitter running, they make myspace and aim look like something you read about in history books. If you don't have any of them you're really technology challenged. As a big name athelete if you have facebook and twitter accounts the natural thing for a fan to do is keep track of you and see what kind of person you are, and most of the time just to bw friends with you and see if you will actually talk to them. Why else would it be open to the public until you choose to change your settings to private. I laughed at the story about the boy who deleted his facebook or whatever because too many fans were bugging him about which school to go to. If you can't handle that, you might not be ready for big time football because you better get use to interacting with the fans. Then you have sites such as rivals.com, scout.com, 247sports.com and plenty of other team related sites to keep fans in the loop on recruits and what offers they're getting and what trips they're taking. To go along with that their are message boards where everybody knows everything. So many people act like they know what atheletes are doing, you swear some people on the message boards lived with the athelete with all the so called "insider info" or "sources" they have. And yes the recruits know about them and read them so watch what you say.
I had this topic suggested to me to talk about my experience with social media and with the tennessee fans in particular. Personally I've had nothing but positive experiences since I've had a facebook and twitter. The first time around during recruiting it wasn't as big yet. But during my recruitment at juco, I was getting requests like crazy on facebook from fans of every school I was talking to. My twitter was blowing up constantly. At first I was accepting everyone, but when it start getting down to the end it was getting crazy, but funny at the same time. The tennessee and miami fans were on my facebook wall talking smack to each other. The tennessee fans and miami fans all showed me love though and i was humbled to feel the presence of being wanted by two great schools which I really couldnt go wrong with picking either. I remember on twitter asking for followers and by the end of the night I had gained about 300 followers in less then a couple of hours from tennessee fans, and now I still continue to get followers from my fellow Vols. They send me alot of encouraging things that make me even more excited to get there and perform in front of them. I started doing this blog because I felt like I wanted the Vol family and everyone else to be even closer to me and get to know me outside the field and see I'm not just a body in a uniform. I use the social media as a positive tool to get information to the fans and use it to market myself because coach dooley and I talked about making a name for myself and creating my image and what I want people to think of when they hear my name. Social media is fun connecting with the fans and I always make sure I try to write you back if you write me. I'll never be the guy who is too good to have interaction with the fans. I learned that up while at USC. Coach Caroll was all about the fans mainly the kids who look up to us, he always told us it wasnt gonna kill us to stay after practice a few extra mins to take pictures and sign autographs. That might be one of the best moments in life for a person to get a picture with you or your autograph so I always try to make someone's day by being nice.
Like I said the social media and internet can be bad too. As soon as you mess up as a athlete it will be on the news, on twitter, facebook, and all the message boards. Your public image can be trashed with the click of a button. All it takes is one wrong picture to be posted on facebook and you'll be hurting the team, your family, community, and yourself. Athletes are under the microscope at all times. Is it fair? Probably not but it comes with the title. You have higher standards to live by because you are heroes to people and role models so you have to set the right examples. So to me its nothing wrong with having a facebook or twitter. As a athlete you just have to monitor it very cautiously, no inapproiate pictures or cussing all in your status updates and tweets. You gotta act like a pro on and off the field.