So many of us have posted things on a social media platform that we may regret immediately after posting it, the morning after posting it, or maybe years down the line when we didn’t realize how poor of a decision it was to do that in the moment. To be honest, I’ve done it several times. I’ve gotten that text from my older sister that I need to delete that inappropriate snapstory or Facebook status, and while I thought she was being super lame and nagging me when she would say it, I appreciate it a lot now that you so often read about people ruining their reputation or future because of an ill advised social media post. While I certainly wouldn’t receive the backlash that a high profile celebrity would after posting something bad, you really never do know where you’re going to be 10 or 20 years down the line. We have all heard people say that once something is on the internet, it’s there forever. With the generation of kids who had access to social media in both high school and college (a time where a lot of people make incredibly stupid decisions) it will be interesting to see how this effects people’s lives and careers as they become public figures later on in their lives. From professional athletes to politicians, social media blunders have had negative effects on a lot of people’s lives and the trend seems like it will only keep increasing.
Many young boys in America lay in their racecar beds at night dreaming of scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. They wish they could be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and hope that, one day, they, too, will be a professional football star. Well, if you’re a 12 year old boy reading this blog right now then you better figure out immediately if you’re going to be in the NFL. You need to go to your pediatrician and find out if you’re going to be 6’5”, 220 lbs and run a 4.5 second 40 yard dash, because if this might be you then you better keep your social media profiles squeaky clean over the next 10 years until you finally get that million dollar contract. ESPN recently released an article in which they explain the extent to which NFL teams study the social media profiles of potential draft prospects. In an age where ill advised social media posts can alter a person’s reputation, many teams are not willing to bet millions of dollars on players who may post something that could bring a negative light to their franchise. One NFL executive told ESPN that they use software driven technology that can pull up anything a prospect ever posted on social media, regardless of whether messages and images were deleted. Another team told them that they begin in depth researching of potential players’ social media profiles during their junior seasons of college, which is before these players are hiring agents who can have their team go through and delete any possible detrimental posts for their client. A lot of NFL players have track records of making pretty bad decisions, so I would imagine that these NFL teams dig up some serious dirt when searching through these players’ online history. It is crazy to think that instantaneous decisions that these kids made at 16 or 17 years old could cost these players millions of dollars if these teams view them as a potential liability and draft them later on, or not at all. We were once worried about not getting into college if there was a picture of us holding a beer in a Facebook picture, and these world class athletes lose several zeros at the end of their paychecks for making a mistake on social media.
Something that crossed my mind quite a few times during last November’s election, as Donald Trump continued to make headlines with controversial tweets, was a wonder with what was going to happen in 30-40 years when members of our generation would be running for president. There’s bound to be people that run for major public offices who have inappropriate or ill-advised photos of them partying in college or tweeting about something they would later regret. Until the more recent elections, candidates didn’t have to worry about stuff they posted on the internet. In the future, however, candidates are going to have to seriously worry about the paper trail they left of the bad decisions they may have made during their younger years. There could be a bad picture of them from spring break at Occidental Caribe in Punta Cana, or a very regrettable selfie they sent to someone on Tinder. It’ll be really interesting to see how this unfolds. Whether there is a significant amount of people who have kept their nose clean and seem to be completely fit to run our country, or the generations who have grown up with social media simply don’t care if their leader had a few social media blunders, it’s something I look forward to seeing unfold.
So, to that 12 year old who’s still reading this blog: You heard it here first. If you want to be a star in the NFL or President of the United States, DON’T PRESS SEND.