Since the release of Facebook in 2004, the popularity of social media has increased significantly. As a result, this surge in popularity has transformed the way that athletes communicate with fans and organizations alike. Professional sports stars’ use of social media gives fans and critics a door into their everyday lives, emotions, and beliefs. For example, NBA superstar Lebron James often posts his family enjoying “Taco Tuesday” through an entertaining video of each of the James family members and friends.
Social media has also allowed athletes to bring more serious matters into the spotlight. US National Soccer star Megan Rapinoe uses social media and her big platform to spread her beliefs and speak out on social justice issues. In July, when the BLM movement was seen across the world in its full form, Rapinoe reached out to her community, encouraging them to support the cause along with her. In this way, social media allows athletes to connect and have an influence on their communities, giving them the ability to make an impact and stand up for causes that they believe in.
Conversely, some athletes use social media to attack people and organizations. Last winter, former star wide receiver Antonio Brown took to twitter to heavily criticize the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and his long time quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, calling him a “loser”. He also attacked the NFL as a whole. These strings of tweets made by Brown may be what is causing many NFL teams to turn him down, as he creates controversy and brings drama to whatever team he’s on.
Social media has definitely changed the way that athletes communicate with each other and with fans. As the technology and accessibility of social media improves in the future, it is likely that Twitter will become an even more important platform for athletes due to the versatility that it has.