The Impact of Social Media on Athletes - Download Free Essay Sample

Published: 2019-07-08 08:30:56
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Introduction

Social media platforms take an important place in the lives of almost all people on Earth. Like any other people, athletes have accounts on social media to communicate with people and discover new things.

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Social media has evolved quite drastically over the past few decades, and there is no doubt that it has had a great impact on people's lives. It can be a catalyst for success empowering people and fueling new ideas. Various good and bad things have been associated with the media, given that everything has advantages and disadvantages. Social media influences almost every aspect of people's lives, starting from the business world, home life, relationships to education, and the world of sports.

Nevertheless, the significance of social media platforms and their impact on the lives of athletes is larger than it seems at first sight. The essay will go deeper into the positive and negative aspects of social media for athletes.

Upsides of Social Media for Athletes

There are various online social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and WhatsApp, to mention a few. All of these have had a great impact on the life of athletes. Almost every sports team, league, and even sports association has a social media profile on one or more online social networking services like Twitter. It doesn't matter whether the athletes are professional, minors, high school athletes, or even retired athletes. All of them are using social media.

Social media has been very helpful to the athletes because it has given them a direct and public line of communication with all the fans worldwide. Athletes can use social media to communicate what they want to the public. Today journalists do not have to break the news about athletes because even before they do it, the news is already with the public members because athletes break it themselves. Some athletes are using social media to engage with their fans positively. Members of the public have those athletes that they love, and they want to keep posted about what's going on in their lives. Social media is the best place for fans to follow up with the activities of their favorite athletes. Fans feel that they have a kind of connection with their favorite athlete. When social media provides an authentic image of the athlete with which fans can identify and connect, the fans' loyalty continues to become strong (Hajli 352). For example, just a simple tweet from an athlete apologizing for their inability to sign all autographs during game activities can change the annoying attitudes that parents and children might have been feeling for that athlete. The fans feel that they can continue to support the athlete in every endeavor they decide to take.

In addition, social media has greatly impacted the lives of the athletes positively, especially when it comes to Brand promotion. Athletes who have many fans following them on social media have a chance of being chosen by the most famous brands for promotions (Soderman and Dolles 183). These are great opportunities for athletes because they can make good money. Brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Adidas, and other famous and big brands use famous athletes with a large audience of fans to promote their products. These brands know perfectly well that their products will gain access to a large audience because of associating the product with a favorite athlete. Therefore, smart brands can associate with famous athletes to make a social media recall of their brand. The athlete will gain more fame and higher economic status while at the same time gaining a larger audience. By promoting the brands, an athlete will continue to connect more with more and more fans and establish long-term interactive relationships between them and their fans.

Sport has become a platform through which all kinds of barriers are broken. It breaks down all walls that prevent people from being united. Social media has enhanced the connection between athletes and their fans. Several decades ago, this kind of connection was minimal, but today, fans and athletes alike feel that they are connected with real people. Through social media, athletes can serve to unite people in a nation and the world by sending important messages across to fans. Even during times of crisis, fans feel that they have people who care for them somewhere. Athletes can use social media to address serious issues affecting people around the world, like climate change, civil wars, and other serious issues. They can preach peace worldwide by just a simple tweet or a Facebook message (Sheehan & Quinn-Allan 63). When fans know about the activities of their favorite athletes, like the donations they make to charities, they feel that there are people somewhere who are trying to make a difference in the world. Athletes can use sport to regenerate the body, mind, spirit, and nature through social media. They hold more power to influence people through sports and social media than politics or business. High-profile professional athletes have the power to be great models or even ambassadors by creating important debates to change people's attitudes and even lifestyles to make great positive changes in the lives of the fans.

Downsides of Social Media for Athletes

On the other hand, social media can negatively impact the lives of athletes. News that is intended to be personal is brought forward to the eyes and ears of the public. This can serve to tarnish the good image of the athlete. Social media has reported a lot of time stories whereby some famous athletes are associated with sexual assaults, physical assault, driving while drinking, using illegal drugs, and other criminal activities. In addition, the private lives of the athletes are laid bare in public, which is very dangerous as it can ruin the personal relationships that an athlete has with other people (Pedersen 214). Some people are media-shy, and they would never want to be associated with some athletes because of the media light. Even if an athlete is going through a divorce, the public members will be on the top list among people who have that kind of knowledge. Social media is tracking every single aspect of an athlete's life. It is even easy for one to know when an athlete coughs! Social media life has created a lot of myths concerning athletes. Various research studies report that public members have come to associate athletes with such aggressive behavior. This is through the constant negative behaviors that are reported about athletes.

Another way through which social media can negatively impact the life of an athlete is that it can lead to poor athlete performance. As usual, many famous or talented athletes are targets of social media prey. Only mediocre people are capable of playing it safe to avoid criticism. However, champions interested in excelling in whatever they are doing take criticism risks every day. When athletes win in games, there is a lot of praise and criticism. When they lose, more criticism follows. Some of these criticisms on social media can leave an athlete feeling demoralized (Russell 45). Athletes will, in most cases, receive a lot of attention from gossip on social media, from the way they play and perform, what they wear, the kind of relationships they are in, and any other things involving their lives. Because of the intense expectations that fans show toward the athletes' winning, the athletes might feel compelled to do some negative things to please their fans. Some of them will go to the extent of using steroids, which might affect their normal performance and ruin their career.

Conclusion

In conclusion, social media has both positive and negative effects on the life of athletes. It can serve the purpose of creating real connections between athletes and their fans. Athletes will feel more motivated to perform well, and the fans will feel that their favorite athlete is making an effort to recognize and appreciate them. They can also use social media to influence people positively on important issues concerning society, like how to practice environmentally-friendly lifestyles. They can also preach peace through social media.

Athletes with many fans following them might get an opportunity to market some of the products from big and famous brands. However, the social media use by athletes does not come without its negatives. All aspects of an athlete's life can be laid bare to the public, making the athlete's privacy mean less. Social media can also serve to tarnish the name of an athlete. Finally, social media can negatively impact an athlete's performance due to negative criticism and pressure from fans to see the athlete perform well each time.

Works Cited

Hajli, Nick. Handbook of Research on Integrating Social Media into Strategic Marketing. , 2015. Internet resource.

Pedersen, Paul. Routledge Handbook of Sport Communication. Routledge, 2013. Internet resource.

Russell, Gordon W. The Social Psychology of Sport. New York, NY: Springer New York, 1993. Internet resource.

Sheehan, Mark. & Quinn-Allan, Deirdre. Crisis Communication in a Digital World. Cambridge University Press, 2015. Internet resource

Soderman, S, and H Dolles. Handbook of Research on Sport and Business. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013. Internet resource.

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