There is a dark side to social media. I’m asked about it in every podcast or workshop I do. I focus on the positives on the platforms, because I’m not an expert in the negatives. There are some fantastic people that help with cyber-safety, cyber-bullying, cyber-crime that lead the way here. (One of which texted me this article this morning).
This is just a quick note on some things I do know about that are out there to help if you’re struggling with how you’re being engaged with on social media, and some comments regarding the issue with telling people to simply not use social media so they can avoid unfair scrutiny…
Collingwood is the AFL club I support, and so I have seen first hand the comments tearing down players from so-called ‘supporters’.
Some things to remember;
- You don’t have to suffer through this alone.
- You have options.
- You don’t need to sit back and continue to cop abuse.
- You can talk to someone like a coach, mentor, parent, friend or health professional.
What you can turn off.
Particularly for Verified social media accounts – as most AFL players have.
- You can turn off notifications.
- You can turn of interactions from anyone who is not also verified.
- You can block and report.
- You can turn off the ability for people to comment on your Instagram posts, or use certain words when commenting on your post.
- You can turn off people tagging you in pictures or posts.
- You can delete your account and remove the apps from your phone… But even that won’t solve the issue entirely because of the things you can’t turn off.
What you can’t turn off.
- The fans yelling over the fence in the crowd.
- The sports media news-cycle… particularly AFL… particularly in Melbourne.
- The talk-back radio and talking head sports television commentary and feedback.
- The comments about you on other news and social media pages and sites including club, league, news outlets.
- The social media posts, comments and interactions of others being mined by journalists and becoming news, becoming discussion.
- The insensitive tweets from journalists becoming the lead news story on TV and front page newspaper coverage.
- The fact that almost all communication is done via a mobile device.
The spotlight shines brightly on professional athletes, sometimes it’s positive, and sometimes it’s negative. You have to have a plan to deal with that attention. You have to get help from experts – in my opinion, mental health and well being experts. That was the downfall in London 2012. No plan. No switching off to switch on. It is not enough to delete your profile and hope that all discussions will stop.
If you are struggling, I have some connections that can help and would be happy to offer some guidance.