By Harrison Kidd
SOCIAL media is a vital part of a university’s sporting life, but can be a force for good and bad.
That’s the warning from USW head of sport Steve Savage, whose advice to students is not to put anything online that they wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone’s face.
In an interview with Expo Sport ahead of the BA Sports Journalism-hosted Social Media in Sport Conference at the atrium on May 7, Savage, who oversaw so much success for the USW 1st XI football team in his previous role, spoke about a topic that is rarely far from the sports news agenda these days.
Savage said: “The importance of social media to university teams and students is huge, everyone has access to it, and it has access to a wider audience to everyone that’s on social media platforms.
“It’s a really important thing for students and players in all USW teams, not to mention all kinds of HE institutions.
“The key is to understand what social media is there for and to use it appropriately, to not bring the university’s name into disrepute or your own name for that matter.
“I think we have to always remember that whatever you put on social media, you should be prepared to say to somebody’s face.
“Above all, students must remember they are representing more than themselves as individuals, but also representing the University.”
Savage stressed that on social media it is easy for things that seem innocuous to be deemed offensive or be misinterpreted.
He added: “I think sometimes you can be misunderstood on social media, you’ve got to be careful with your words because it is different to a face to face conversation.
“My advice to students and players would be that once you put something out there on social media platforms, they can’t be taken back.”
That is why, Savage says, students may often regret years later something inappropriate which they have allowed on a social media account in their name.
“Social media is such a powerful platform employers and businesses are always looking at you,” he added.
“They know what you have said. It’s important to represent yourself well and when you use social media you use it appropriately and respectfully.”