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If you don’t have something nice to say on social media, don’t say it

By Anthony Brown | July 24, 2018, 7:22 p.m. (ET)

social media cheering

In many of our athletic pursuits, social media plays a role and it isn’t always supportive. We are in a society that enjoys bolstering our egos and gaining social acceptance and/or support from social media posting, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or Strava. Some athletes even try to determine how successful they are by how many likes or shares they gain from their social media posts. If that is what motivates you then please continue to do so.

No matter how long or short you have been a part of our sport please remember that you are an ambassador. We want to maintain that culture of support of lifting each other up and encouraging others to better themselves.

We all must realize that a pace or length of race shouldn’t be compared to what you do. A super sprint is no less important than your Ironman distance race. Everyone is pursuing this wonderful sport for personal records, or weight loss, to have fun, be social, or to stay healthy. It isn’t always about the time or length of a distance you raced. 

Please also realize that you may have accomplished some great feats in your race adventures and that local support from social media or local triathlon communities can be very beneficial. We do not need to chase anyone out of the sport. 

On social media I saw an athlete post a picture of themselves at a super sprint triathlon and there were comments stating, “How cute a sprint triathlon.” 

This insinuates that a super sprint is somehow less important than any endeavor they have accomplished. Was that really necessary to say? The answer is no. 

It is wonderful that you run ultra-marathons and race double Ironman distances but that title doesn’t make you entitled to downplay other people’s accomplishments regardless of distance.

I recently saw another post of an athlete working on their swim stroke mechanics at a local pool. Unknowingly, a fellow triathlete decided to film the swimmer then post on social media about their stroke form. The swimmer was tagged in the video and then opened up to unsolicited criticism from their peers. There were more than 20 comments discussing what was wrong with this swimmer’s form. 

Was it really necessary to give this swimmer your unsolicited comments? Again, the answer is no.

There are many of us who have not been victim to these criticisms or belittling but you may have seen, like I have, people feel the need to comment on others people’s activities.  

Use social media to do something nice for someone. If they do not ask for advice or criticism then please do not feel the need to give what you may think is constructive criticism. Remember that sometimes people make profile posts to share their life and yes you could say that opens them up to criticism. But, do you always have to criticize someone?

We are in a very social environment online and it can be easy to make some of these comments online, but can be much harder to make these statements when face to face with someone. Use social media in positive ways by inviting others to social gatherings or group workouts. Like posts when people are putting themselves out there on social media.  

These people are friends on social media and supposedly friends in real life. Try to be a supportive athlete and friend who encourages others. Help lift up others and support others in our endeavors so we as a community can grow.  

Remember the words of wisdom passed on from many mothers, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all.”