Quit It with the Social Media Hovering

ATHENS – You can't stop yourself can you? You are still reading Georgia players' social media feeds aren't you?

You need to stop – wean yourself off this addiction before you worry yourself to death about what type of people are playing for your team.

After all you've still got nearly two months before the college football season kicks off. Aaron Murray's Harry Potter obsession, or how bad Hunter Long needs a nap is something you need not concern yourself with. I don't care that Israel Troupe is "hurting so bad it's not even funny", and you shouldn't, either.

I know. I'm a #hater. I get it.

Step back. Put your phone down. Get back to your life (if you have one).

Are you sure you want to start looking under rocks? I mean as far as morals go, judging from the never-ending mess that is college football and its scandals these days I don't think that's a great idea.

There are a couple of things you are not taking into consideration when you absorb social media of players on a college football team:

You think players are mature enough to know there is no such thing as a filter on social media. You think the staff from the sports information office is monitoring and can somehow magically stop players from sending out stupid things. You think players are more mature than they really are because they play for "your team" forgetting that, after all, they are in college and college kids do stupid and crazy things on the hour every hour. You think all players are all saints.

Negative. Negative in a big way.


Apparently Aaron Murray likes Harry Potter… why do you care? You shouldn't.

Players don't understand these things – that's why they make stupid statements online. They are not old enough (not that stupidity in social media is limited to college football players alone. Witness, er, take a look at LaBron James' lack of understand regarding the matter: #karma) to understand the danger of social media – and are totally accustomed to and fooled by the alleged safety of their little babies… aka their cell phones.

Players in college today have grown up with cell phones in their hands – used to blasting out their feelings at a moments notice. They grew up as text message teens… they've had more conversations with their thumbs than they'd ever had with their mouths. The move from text messaging to twitter and Facebook was a natural progression for them and their friends. They didn't have a filter before – why would they be used to one now? (You, for the record, are not their friend. Yet you are eagerly looking in on their lives for some odd reason, and blasting out some of the details on the message boards... Yes, I'm #hater again.)

The world that existed for us doesn't exist for this bunch… and I am not judging them for that. I can't tell you how happy I am that YouTube specifically didn't exist when I was in college. I am here to tell you that while I was much fitter back in the day, I am glad very little video evidence exists of my "youthful days." I am sure every college coach in America would tell you the same.

Players have to find their way, but it is more complicated now. The fishbowl in Athens used to just involve the media and students. Now it is the entire world thanks to social media. It's easy for us to wonder what in the world an 18-year old is doing with the loaded gun that is his phone on a Friday night in Athens, but that's the number one thing kids have with them these days – their phones.

The proliferation of easy peering into the world of players via cell phone these days doesn't mean anything has really changed over the last few decades.

Are we really naive enough to think that Herschel Walker was an angel the three years he was at Georgia? I can only imagine the panic attack that would ensue today after it was found out that Herschel was skipping out on off-season workouts. How about Mark Richt at Miami? Kirby Smart and Mike Bobo used to rule their social scene in Athens – I remember that. I was there, but there is no YouTube footage or tweets about #BoarsHead in the 1990s… thank God.

Why are we judging kids for being kids today more than we did even five years ago? Because it's more pervasive today; we see it everywhere; and we've gotten very good at judging others as we watch (see American Idol). The lives of players are delivered to us today in a faster, quicker way than ever before. Newspapers used to print once a day – now? (Wait… newspapers still exist?) News isn't printed nearly as often today as much as it is posted. Phones are the newspaper of this century, and the photo feature of twitter and Facebook accelerate the acknowledgement of poor (or college) decision-making in a way that print has never been able to do.

Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno learned their lessons with cell phone cameras early during their tenure at Georgia – soon after Stafford returned from #benchingkegs at Talladega. But neither had to deal with social media as it is today – everyone armed with a cell phone and an account ready to send to 1,236 of your closest "friends" at the push of a button.

My advice (not that you are asking for it because you are too busy reading what Christian Robinson is saying about a workout to care) is to get off the players… let them breathe. Sure, they are the ones opening up their accounts for the world to see, but that doesn't mean you have to look.

The train wreck is inevitable… you don't want to be a part of it.


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