Modifying new media training to align with student-athletes habits and input will promote more positive and responsible usage of social networks, says a new study.The study published in the International Journal of Sport Communication explored college athletes social media use, as well as the experiences and attitudes about a rising trend in college athletics: social media education.

“Social media educational sessions are generally mandatory for college athletes, yet little scholarly work to date has investigated how college athletes perceive this training,” said Jimmy Sanderson of Clemson University.

Understanding college athletes’ social media use and perceptions about social media training will offer important insights for athletic department personnel, coaches and social media consultants to ensure that social media education is fully optimised.

“Student-athletes appear to be willing to receive social media education so long as it is tailored to their actual habits and includes their input,” Sanderson said.

“There also appears to be a need for more consistent follow-up and less reliance on monitoring software that may be excessive and over burdensome,” he added.

The researchers note that athletic department administrators, coaches and others tasked with social media education need to listen to the voices of college athletes and integrate their feedback into this process.

“If they do so, college athletes will have a more rewarding and meaningful experience with social media education,” Sanderson said.