Planning for how you will treat social media prior and during competition needs to become a more integral part of an athlete’s overall strategy for reaching the pinnacle of their sport.
Just as you need to work on your strength, conditioning, diet, and mindset, social media has reached the point of becoming a factor in deciding results, and medals and must be taken seriously.
“Our athletes in London didn’t understand, and we didn’t understand either, the dangers or the distraction,” chef de mission Kitty Chiller says. “We were worried about what people might say [online], but we weren’t concerned about the distraction. We now know that.”
Whether they are positive or negative interactions, blocking out distractions, of which for some social media clearly can be, and focusing on the competition at hand should be engrained in elite athletes.
Planning to achieve their Olympic dream would include understanding priorities, things to focus on that will move them towards that goal, and distractions that could lead them to take their eye off the ball.
Those sorts of plans should be worked out with coaches well in advance of reaching an Olympic games. Yes, the spotlight will be brighter, but it’s important to know whether you are the type of personality that needs to ‘switch-off to switch-on’ or not.
They also heard from swimmer Emily Seebohm, who said that using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter during the Games had cost her a gold medal.
This is an important discussion to have, and athletes should decide for themselves whether they will engage in social media during the games, however it is far from the simple choice of ‘tweet or compete’ as it was dubbed.
Ryan Mobilia is co-founder and Head of Social Communications at Hook Media, and works with athletes to increase awareness of impact, both positive and negative, can have on their reputation and opportunities.
His book, ‘Social Media Scouting Report’: Helping Athletes to Shine Online’ comes out in January 2016: http://www.hookmedia.com.au/book and covers this topic. Contact Ryan now to register your interest in the book firstname.lastname@example.org or 0412 058 927[mc4wp_form]