If weâ€™re lucky fake people or organizations label themselves, like the account above. EvenÂ with clear warning, itâ€™s easy on mobile to glance at the logo,Â notÂ really look at theÂ user nameÂ and end up with some strange information we think are facts.
Owning a social media account for a name that canâ€™t be trademarked isÂ alsoÂ easy, itâ€™s a matter of claiming it first.Â Look forÂ the NFL Commissioner on Facebook and you get someone out of Landstown. HeÂ isnâ€™t trying to catfish youÂ butÂ he certainlyÂ isnâ€™tÂ Roger Goodall. This person owning a NFL Commissioner account is perfectly legal.
Both of theÂ accountsÂ aboveÂ go to some length to alert you to the fact that they are not theÂ â€œrealâ€Â thing.Â But there are a lot of people in the social media world who arenâ€™t whoÂ go to some length to see that you donâ€™t ever know who they really are. Examples in athletics abound:
Probably the most famous is theÂ case ofÂ Manti Te’o of Notre Dame and theÂ girl who didnâ€™t exist. This catfished sequenceÂ put an extensiveÂ emotional strain on the player, brought his honesty into question,andÂ put the 2013 draft spotlight on his social media romance rather than his football prowess.
Last year when Bronco Jeff Heuerman was at Ohio State he got into some seriousÂ back and forthÂ venting over a parking ticket. The only problem was he was conversingÂ with a fake Twitter accountÂ (@OSUCampusParc); besides being a waste of time it wasnâ€™t great personal PR.
In 2014 a North Carolina football playerÂ publicly committed to the Florida Gators on an offer he thought had come from thenÂ Florida assistant coach Brad Lawing.Â The player had talked to the real Florida coaches earlier in the year,Â but the offer came from a catfishÂ social media account.Â The Florida coaches had not made an offer.
WhenÂ theÂ Chiefâ€™s Ramik Wilson played atÂ the University of GeorgiaÂ heÂ didnâ€™t want a Twitter account.HeÂ endedÂ upÂ with oneÂ anywayÂ to combat theÂ numerousÂ fake accountsÂ that were usingÂ his name. (@RamikWilsonÂ is one of the fake accounts. @WilsonRamik is the real one.)
Beyond the normal safety issues,Â virtual coaches, fake fans,Â and phony recruiters in social mediaÂ negativelyÂ impact players who are attempting to be noticed in universe of 1,000,000+ high school football players.Â There are some basic steps to take to assure yourself that you are actually â€œtalkingâ€ to a real person who is a real coachÂ and that they are talking to the real you.
Despite the fact that it is cumbersome, switch to email after the initial contacts.Â When you talk to a coach who has expressed interest in you and whose program is interesting to you, use FaceTime or Skype if you can.