In an age where social media has become extremely widespread, many athletic programs are catching onto the trend and creating social media accounts of their own. At institutions of higher learning like Trinity University, the primary goal of these accounts is to gain attention from possible recruits, with side goals of keeping family and friends updated on events, as well as attracting attention from other students.
“I think the primary goal of most social media accounts would be to draw attention of recruits,” said former athletic department student worker Natalie Belew. “The idea being that now that so many kids have Instagram and Facebook and Twitter accounts, if schools have them students will see everything posted and get excited.
Belew also spoke to the benefits of involving student athletes’ parents.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that parents seem to enjoy it just as much if not more. It’s really easy for a parent to follow their kid’s team on social media and stay updated on what’s going on, which is nice for them, especially considering that many kids do not talk to their parents as much in college, said Belew.”
However, there is some debate over whether or not the social media is actually effective in recruitment or if it only helps parents and other Trinity students. While many incoming recruits may see the social media pages, whether or not it affects their school decision is debatable.
“I did look at the cross country Facebook page and such before I decided to come here, but I would not say it actually made me want to come here more,” said first-year Laura Taylor. “I think that as far as athletics go, I knew I wanted to continue on in college so I did not need a social media site to persuade me in one way, which is probably a common thread among athletes. Most probably just look at the sites to see what the team is like or to get an idea who they’ll be playing with, but not to help them make their decision on whether or not they want to play.”
Beyond just the effectiveness of the individual team’s social media pages, some athletes may feel like their sport does not get equal coverage on the athletic department’s social media pages. While big-name sports such as football, baseball and soccer have more of a following than sports like cross country or diving, those athletes may feel left out.
“A lot of the times I think there is some unequal coverage of sports on the athletic site, so the individual social media sites may feel like they have to post more to make up for it or feel like, since the athletic department is giving them less buzz, they have to generate some by posting a lot more than average,” said junior Melissa Whitman. “I understand that football is a really big deal in Texas, but Trinity has a lot of sports that all do really well.”
Since the explosion of Trinity University’s athletic usage of social media is fairly new, it is yet to be seen if there will actually be any noticeable impact of recruitment. However, thus far, it has served as a good way for future students to get a better idea on what they will be doing, and has especially helped friends and parents stay up-to-date with the individual team’s activities.