These question(s) identify and address the interests, needs and concerns of young athletic training professionals. Young professional Mike Hopper, ATC, has teamed up with the experience of Danielle Kleber, ATC, to highlight some of the issues young professionals find themselves dealing with early in their careers.
How do you incorporate social media into your professional life and what tips do you have for protecting yourself on social media?
Social media – what a tangled web of professional and personal presence we weave!
When I worked at the high school, I always took a very conservative approach to social media. I never allowed “friends” until a student-athlete graduated and I really wasn’t all that active on Facebook or Twitter from a personal standpoint. The photos I shared were always appropriate and never showed me with a drink in hand or doing anything that could be misinterpreted.
I also never stored student-athletes’ phone numbers on my phone or texted them unless it was absolutely necessary.
Here are some tips you can consider when thinking about social media and protecting your professional image:
- Your Facebook is set to private – so what?!?! You would be surprised by the amount of information that ends up in Google searches, feeds, or in places you wouldn’t expect, even if your profile is set to private.
- Know your employee handbook. Most schools and companies have policies on social media, so make sure you know the rules.
- Twitter and Facebook ARE NOT small, private networks and are in fact far and wide reaching venues of information that are immediate. There is a reason it is referred to as viral.
- Be careful uploading photos of injuries and absolutely don’t tag the person’s name in the photo! This can be a violation of patient privacy/confidentiality.
- Don’t complain or whine about your employer, a client/patient/athlete, or make other immature comments about the people you interact with on a daily basis on social media forums.
- If you are applying for jobs, clean up your social media accounts. After your resume makes it to my “keep” pile, my next step is to check Facebook. Many resumes have moved from my “keep” pile to my “no” pile after this step.
In my current position, it is a big part of what I do to promote our business and market our events through social media. And, on the flip side, social media can be a powerful tool for young professionals. You can set up Google Alerts to stay on top of hot topics or follow tweets or blogs of others with useful information. When I worked at the high school setting, our scheduling system could text me anytime a change was made to a game or event. That was huge in keeping me in the loop for game coverage.
Our motto in practice is always to error on the side of caution and it seems to me that would be a great way to approach social media.
Michael Hopper, ATC, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Management: Athletic Training Concentration from Southeast Missouri State University in 2010. He is a current graduate student through the University of South Florida working towards a Master’s Degree in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Athletic Training. Hopper has worked with athletes of all ages from youth sports all the way up to professional baseball and currently works for Monroe Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Waterloo, IL.
Danielle Kleber, ATC, attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Leisure Management with emphasis in Athletic Training and went on to complete her master’s coursework at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) in Fitness and Wellness Promotion. Her professional experience includes collegiate and high school experience and she has worked with athletes at all levels of competition. Currently she works at the Director of Operations at Athletes’ Training Center, a sports performance and physical therapy facility in Omaha, NE.