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The San Francisco 49ers recently sent their newest crop of rookies to Facebook’s headquarters for a social media training session.
A recent Sacramento Bee story profiled the 49ers’ trip to Facebook’s new Menlo Park offices. 49ers rookies were given advice on how they can use social media to help grow their profiles and brands. The rookies also learned how many people platforms like Facebook reach on a daily basis. Most importantly they learned more about how to protect themselves on social media.
The 49ers currently have more than 20 rookies on their roster, although that number is likely to be cut by more than half before the season starts. Every one of them has certainly gone through a social media seminar in college. Most of them have heard about how to stay out of trouble on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But these rookies know there is always room for improvement, especially with the bright lights of the NFL shining on their digital activities. Their trip to Facebook’s high-tech headquarters hopefully helped them make some necessary adjustments.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, and it’s not even close. The 49ers Facebook page has more than four million likes. It is good for these young NFL players to understand just how many people they can reach.
Social media can be a great tool, but it has career-altering power at both ends of the spectrum. Ronald Blair, a rookie defensive lineman understands this.
“It just shows you—one little thing you say on social media, positive or negative, can reach so many people throughout the U.S., throughout the whole world,” Blair told the Bee. “It’s an amazing platform. It’s good and bad what social media can do for you. It just depends on what you put into it.”
A recent wave of hacks left some NFL players and the league office in serious trouble. 49ers rookies learned how to make their accounts as secure as possible. Facebook staff explained the best practices to avoid security breaches, and hacks using “secondary security options.”
Bob Lange, vice president of communications for the 49ers hopes the Facebook experience helps the rookies understand how ubiquitous social media has become. “Every time you pick up your phone and engage on anything that goes out from your phone, you might as well be standing in front of your locker saying it in front of cameras, microphones and recorders.”
The NFL and its 32 teams try to help their players and especially their rookies navigate social media. Rookies are all currently attending the NFL’s new transition program.
The 49ers sought the expertise of their Silicon Valley neighbors. For players who want more social media advice, especially regarding brand building, maybe they will continue to make the 20-minute drive from Levi’s Stadium to Facebook’s headquarters. Those who don’t, might try to take Blair’s simplistic words to heart: “Just make sure your account is secure and keep off the stuff that you don’t want your mom seeing.”
Social media can be very useful and fun for NFL players. The 49ers hope their rookies now have a greater understanding of how to maximize the good, and avoid the bad.