Personal and Professional Use of Social Media

I used to think that social media meant online friend groups and photo sharing, but with more exposure to social media platforms, I have been exposed more to what social media really is. Social media is an instrument of communication that can be used to keep in contact with friends, form workplace relationships or provide information. It doesn’t just give you information, but allows you to interact and participate in the situation, through question and response, comments or making suggestions based on other users similar interests.

I maintain a facebook, twitter and blog accounts for personal use, where I am able to talk with friends and share photos from holidays and generally keep in touch with people who would otherwise fade out of my life. These social media resources also make it possible to communicate with colleagues and discover new information. Professionally I use team management websites to help with the logistics of teams that I coach, and maintain professional relationships with people on LinkedIn. By having accounts of my own on all of these social media sites, I am also able to keep up to date with what other people are using social media for. I read blog posts, articles and forums that I would otherwise never have known about.

Web 2.0 is the move toward a more social, collaborative, interactive and responsive internet (Nations, D.). It is the second stage of development of the Internet and a change in the philosophy of internet use. Web 2.0 is typically characterized through dynamic or user-generated content and the growth of social networking rather than the static web pages of old.

Using Web 2.0 makes it possible for every person and business to develop their online identity to great benefit.


Risks of Social Media

The honeycomb method is used to separate social media use into seven functional blocks; Identity, Presence, Relationships, Reputation, Groups, Conversations and Sharing. These functional blocks can help examine user experience and their implications (Kietzmann et. al.). Each of these segments have their own set of implications and require different strategies to maintain and manage them. All of the different functional blocks have their own associated risks.

A single person may have accounts with a number of different social media networks, and may also have multiple accounts with a single service. Typically there are three categories of use for social media services; Personal, Professional and Official. A personal profile is used for non-work related information sharing, typically with friends. A professional profile is where a person can make comments in a personal capacity, but is able to reflect using their professional expertise. Finally, an official account is used by an individual or group when they are commenting in their capacity as an employee of an organisation (Waugh, P. & Barger, A).

Social media is changing the way to work and communicate, offering a new way to engage with customers, colleagues, and the world at large (intel). Social media is fast becoming one of the busiest and most commonly used technology in the world. Almost 60% of people worldwide have some kind of online profile, and as much 98% of 18-24 year olds are engaged with social media ( With so many people engaged with social media it is almost impossible to prevent problems from arising with someone when you post onto public forums.

Maintaining anonymity is not an option on the internet. The best you can hope for is controlling what information is available about you to the public. There are any number of risks that every person has to be willing to accept, some of the most significant for personal profiles include:

Improper use of personal information

Posting inappropriate images or messages onto public forums

Breach in intellectual property

Change in services resulting in unexpected bills

Being aware of the risks, and having a plan to mitigate any problems that might arise can help maintain a positive public image and reduce the risk of damage to your reputation.


Social Media Code of Conduct

Personal and professional profiles on social media each require management in different areas. They target different audiences and therefore may need different information and censoring.

Professional profiles are aimed more towards colleagues and work related associates. This means that your reputation is on the line with every comment you make. Everything you put onto your profile is going to impact what people think of you professionally. These opinions can also be affected by personal profiles.

While there are some areas that will be different in personal profiles compared with professional profiles, it is prudent to maintain both with the highest standards and have a simple code of conduct that is relevant to both as there is almost always going to be overlap.

Most businesses will have policies on social media and best practice guidelines. Everyone will have a different opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do, but at the end of the day it is the responsibility of the individual to control what their public image is and what they put onto social media.

For both personal and professional profiles:

Knowledge – Know the media you are using, and your audience

Responsibility – Be responsible for everything you post; think before you click. If you don’t want it there don’t post it. If you don’t want it there, remove it, don’t leave it for later.

Honesty – Be honest with your opinions, and be willing to justify them later

Security – Only use credible social media platforms and regularly update privacy settings, keeping up to date with changes in service policies of the sites you are using.

For personal profiles it is important to:

Protection – Only make connections with people that you are willing to have see your personal information and private activities.

For professional profiles it is important to:

ModerationLimit personal information shared only to what is necessary for public viewing. Only share the information about your organisation that is safe to share with everyone.

Professionalism – Keep personal issues and private activities completely out of your professional profile.

In all cases, knowledge is key. If you know who can see it, and what at the ramifications of your comments are, then you are in a better position to decide if it is appropriate to post.


Bennett, W. L., 2008, Changing Citizenship in the Digital Age. Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. The MIT Press. 1–24

Kietzmann, J.H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy I.P. & Silvestre, B.S., 2011, Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54, 241-251

Waugh, P. & Barger, A., 2012, Using Social Media in the Public Service: A Short Guide for Public Servants, Office of the Australian Government CTO, Technology and Procurement Division, Department of Finance and Deregulation.


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Social Technographics

The Trending

What’s the best way to understanding your customers? The answer is looking at social technographic profiles. You may wonder how you define such a term, well when you break it down into two words you have the word meaning social referring to people to people activities in groundswell. The next term is technographics refers to the methodology used for researching consumers. The social technographic profiles can be broken done into 6 groups.

1. Creators: publish a blog or online article at least once a month.
2. Critics: react to online content by being responsive to online posts.
3. Collectors: save the information they like
4. Joiners: create and maintain profiles on social media sites
5. Spectators: consume what others produce online
6. Inactives: nonparticipating

It’s hard to imagine that online users can be categorized into just 6 groups. Although I would classify myself as a joiner, recently with this blog…

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Internet – changing the way we do things

Everything you do on the internet links to something else, or sends information to another person, or adds your profile to another list. Nothing has defined boundaries or finite barriers, and managing your “digital footprint” becomes increasingly difficult. On the other hand, using or not using these tools can completely alter the success of an organisation. Recently the Canberra Knights ice hockey folded, through the use of online tools the club has been able to obtain around $28,000 in crowd funding through mycause. When you think that a simple photo by Ellen Degeneres can get over 3 million retweets, the possibility to access a global audience is unbelievable.

In doing my final semster at uni, I now am involved in a couple of marketing subjects that have a strong focus on social media and internet usage. The way these subjects have been designed relies on the use of web based tools and social media to participate in coursework. This has had my head in a bit of a spin as nothing is structured the way I want it and everything is open to your own experience. I am now wondering if the modern need for immediacy and instant satisfaction ties into the way we now have to make sense of everything in our lives.

Social media is used in sport across every level. Promotion of teams and products, as well as players and competitions. Social media has created new opportunities to connect with fans and makes communication easier and cheaper than traditional radio or television mediums. Twitter is now becoming a huge tool along with facebook for managers and coaches to get information to their players and their fans, whether it is professional or social, these websites are becoming the way for teams to communicate. Athletes use twitter to increase their support numbers and promote their brandings. 

Twitter and facebook take seconds to use and have long term access at almost no cost. It makes it possible to stay current with events and inform the wider community whats going on and what to expect. The size of the audience is unlimited and the opportunity to view the information either immediately or at a later date make it more desireable and easier to access.

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Potential and Talent

I was reading a post by Alexis Lebedew, There’s More to Talent, and it reminded me of a previous conversation I had with him. Essentially the idea that people exactly meet their potential as otherwise they would have achieved more was the topic.


While a junior athlete still has the potential to achieve anything, by the end of their career this potential diminishes to what they have already achieved. In essence someone will meet their potential. The heights of their achievement however may be limited by their motivation, physical attributes, uncontrollable factors or any of an innumerate list of things that can hold someone back from ultimate success.


This poses an issue when it comes to talent identification however. If you dont know all of the extrinsic factors that are going to influence them, you cant accurately identify talent. Every coach knows that the biggest or best or strongest or most gifted wont necessarily be the one at the end of the day that wins, there are always other things that come into play. Coaches however have to weigh up the liklihood of someone being successful, and this is when the typical notion of potential come from. While someone may eventually meet their true potential, coaches explore athletes hypothetical potential looking at physiology, physchology and circumstance.


You never really know who will be the best, but you can make an educated guess at who is most likely.

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Social Media

As part of my degree I am now undertaking a subject called “Social Media”. I used to think that social media meant online friend groups and photo sharing, but over the last year or so I have done a few subjects at uni that have exposed me a little more to what social media is. This blog for instance was started up due to a subject at uni, and then linked to another subject blog I had to do later. Having never considered writing a blog before it was interested to see who read what I posted and what they had to say in return.

You can be offered jobs through LinkedIn, I have learnt valuable information from people I have never met or spoken with on blogs, and you can maintain friendships with people that live on the other side of the world through facebook. I have facebook, twitter and blog accounts, but due to my infrequency of use, I only really get a chance to read and communicate with people that I already know and speak with. When I see some of my friends and colleagues blogs and the amount of engagement they get, its easy to see how beneficial these applications can be, and understanding these resources is the first step to being able to use them to benefit yourself.

I mainly look up blogs and posts that relate to either my study at the time, or things that i am interested in, typically volleyball, however on the odd occasion interesting topics pop up out of nowhere. This is one of the best things that I can see about social media, the accidental conversations that you can join, and the wealth of knowledge you can obtain, through the variety of sources that can be linked together. On the other hand though, the risk of people abusing these resources and the loss of security are always a concern. Hopefully as people share more and more information this issue will be minimised, whether through safety protocols or simple knowledge and understanding by the users.

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Interventions and Confidence

The perception of one’s ability to perform a task successfully is a situation specific for of self-confidence (Bandura 1986), and high levels of self-efficacy have been documented to be associated with optimal levels of sport performance (Feltz 2008; Barker 2013). Self efficacy, is the belief in one’s ability to successfully perform the desired behaviour successfully (Bandura 1977) and it is important to have a strong sense of personal efficacy to maintain the effort needed to succeed, as such people with a high sense of self-efficacy are more likely to have the staying power to endure the obstacles that must be overcome for success (Bandura 1994). The problem that arises for athletes and coaches is determining whether the use of a placebo or ergogenic aid to increase self-efficacy will result in an ability to achieve a higher level of performance.

The coach-athlete relationship is regarded as a critical component to athlete success; with the quality of the relationship positively influencing an athlete’s self-efficacy, motivation and satisfaction (Davis et al., 2013), this alone can be an important factor in altering an athletes self efficacy, and may impact on the placebo’s effect on the athlete. Coaches need to ensure that any placebo interventions used are managed properly and assess the benefit to an athletes’ self-efficacy in relation to the burden on resources that the use of the placebo will have.

The use of a placebo often exerts some influence on performance (Beedie 2007). Elite athletes are always looking to gain an advantage and some athletes may believe, having success following the use of a placebo one time, will mean that future success will be dependant on that intervention. Given the significant association between self-efficacy and sport performance, research exploring effective techniques that facilitate such beliefs are worthy additions to the sport psychology literature (Barker 2013). As the use of a placebo may lead to dependency (Saljoughian 2011) it is important to be certain that an athletes best interest is maintained when considering the use of any placebo interventions.

Humans have evolved an advanced capacity for observational learning that enables them to expand their knowledge and skills on the basis of information conveyed by modelling influences (Bandura 1989) and because of this it is possible to think that success comes from the use of something such as a placebo if that is the most obvious difference between two people. When a group uses a placebo and achieves success following this, the “social persuasion” (Bandura 1994) involved strengthens the beliefs that they have what it takes to succeed, resulting in an increase in self-efficacy. The phenomenon of believing something will improve your performance can act as a placebo effect or simply provide a boost to confidence. This increased self-efficacy can be seen in the use of some products such as skins, kinaesiotape and supplements where the athlete believes they are going to perform better because they have the additional boost of the aid, even though there may be no proven physiological benefit.

In many cases, placebos can create an increased self-efficacy for a person, leading to performance improvement, rather than through the use of physiological enhancement. If the concept of the placebo effect is limited to a physiological process, then it can be problematic to identify and distinguish this effect from the somatic consequences of other psychological processes and motivational changes (Beedie 2007). These changes may in other instances be caused due to increased confidence and self-efficacy, instead of a direct physiological benefit. Performance attainment is the single most powerful influence on one’s perceived physical competence (Bell 1997, Feltz 2008) and so it is important for an athlete to both; believe in themself, as well as achieve performance results to be able to maintain success in the future.

Determining whether an athlete should use a placebo to improve their self-efficacy, will be different from person to person and may be dependant on the resources available. The burden on resources that the use of the placebo consumes, will impact the ability to manage the intervention, and may mean that other mechanisms that will have a greater impact on performance will be missing. There are definite benefits to using any intervention, whether it is a placebo or has a physiological impact, it is just up to the individual to weigh up the benefit of each intervention they wish to use.

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioural
change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215

Bandura, A. (1989). Social cognitive theory. Annals of child development. Vol. 6, 1-60.

Bandura, A. (1994). Self efficacy. Encyclopaedia of human behaviour. Vol. 4, 71-81

Barker, J.B., Jones, M.V., & Greenlees, I. (2013) Using hypnosis to enhance self-efficacy in sport performers. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology Vol. 7, 228-247

Bell, K.W. (1997) The relationship between perceived physical competence and the physical activity patterns of fifth and seventh grade children. Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Beedie, C. J. (2007). Placebo effects in competitive sport: qualitative data. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 6, 21-28

Davis, L., & Jowett, S. (2013). Attachment styles within the coach-athlete dyad: preliminary investigation and assessment development. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 7(2), 120-145.

Feltz, D.L., Short, S.E., & Sullivan, P.J. (2008). Self-efficacy in sport: Research and strategies for working with athletes, teams and coaches. Human Kinetics

Saljoughian, P., & Saljoughan, M. (2011) The placebo effect: Usage, mechanisms, and legality. US Pharm. 36(12):Epub.

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Placebos in High Performance Sport

A Placebo is something of no intrinsic remedial value that is used to appease or reassure another. There is no completely agreed upon definition of what a placebo is, and the scope of therapy can extend from an ingested agent to a physically inert external treatment. The concept of the placebo effect can extend to include
every conceivable beneficial biological, social, or human interaction that doesn’t involve some drug well-known to the pharmacopoeia. Irving Kirsch hypothesised that the self-fulfilling effects of response expectancies, in which the belief that one will feel different, leads a person to actually feel different. This effect is the placebo effect.

Despite the vast amount of research in the area of placebos, the phenomenon has remained largely unchallenged in the area of sport and performance. In high performance it is likely that there are a great number of therapies and ergogenic aids that are used with no real effect of the athlete. Instead, there is the potential for a placebo effect to occur providing a false positive for improved performance. Expectation and conditioning are among the strongest areas for explaining the placebo effect and a large component of high performance sport involves mental training of an athlete by their coaches and support staff.

The placebo effect is a psychobiological reaction attributed to numerous mechanisms including expectation of improvement and Pavlovian conditioning. These psychological reactions can have performance benefits, and when you look at high performance sport the single highest priority is performance outcome. Numerous studies have been completed where athletes falsely believe they have been administered performance enhancing agents, and obtain performance improvements over baselines and controls. These improvements may only be an increase of 1% however at top levels that can be enough to mean the difference between winning and losing. With restrictions on what agents an athlete can use and what equipment and techniques are allowed win each sport it is necessary to look at every possible option for getting the winning edge on the opposition. Some aids that can be used may only provide a placebo effect on the athlete, but this can lead to real performance outcomes.

It is shown that false belief may enhance performance. This can be achieved through a conscious decision making process as opposed to any direct somatic or psychological mechanism. To be able to determine the real benefit of a placebo however, it would be necessary to look deeper into the actual reasoning for the performance enhancements that are achieved. At the moment the only true way of determining whether there is a placebo effect in place is through performance measures and recording athlete results. If there were some neurobiological mechanism that has a physiological effect on the individual causing these changes, it would be necessary to determine what it is and then measure the impact that it has.

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More Rule Changes?

In a post I was reading More Rule Changes? it discussed a number of potential changes to volleyball. These include, servers to land behind the end line, back row attackers must land behind the attack line, eliminate open-hand tip, eliminate overhead serve receive, penalties for a missed serve?, free substitution, no contact with center line, no contact with the net, change in points for a set.

This had me thinking about what changes would actually improve the game of volleyball. Most of the time it is suggested that the rallies are too short and that extending the length of each point will make the game more interesting for spectators. In my experience, new people to the sport are overawed by the speed of the game play, not the number of times the ball crosses the net. I feel like improving the possibility for big kills and fast plays should be the way to go, not slow the game down and make it harder to win a point. Just like in every other sport, the most entertaining part of the game is the end of a point (or when you score a goal). Everybody loves to see a combo run and a massive kill that bounces inside the 3m line. We should find more ways of making that happen.

The reason I believe, that extending the rallies is a priority, is that when they do happen (which is quite rare in elite volleyball) it is because of some spectacular plays on the court. It isn’t the length of the rally that is entertaining, its the skill and athleticism displayed that everyone wants to see.

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The Final Week before a Tournament

So after nearly 5 months of training and planning it is now a week before the first match of Australian Junior Volleyball Championship. The ACT U19’s have played in a NSW state cup where they came third, losing only one match to the eventual undefeated winners, a training camp in Sydney as well as numerous training matches including a number of wins against the ACT U23 team. The team has had a lot of match success as well as some tough losses and are in final preparation for their end goal of winning a medal at AJVC.

With all of this training and competing, it was interesting to look through the attendance and notice that there have only been 4 training sessions that have had the entire team attend. Between national junior team tours, national junior netball representation, injury, family trips, year 12 and illness over 90% of the trainings have had at least one player missing. Even though this may sound like a bad thing it actually turns out that these 4 trainings have been the final 4 sessions that the squad has before the tournament, and the team is playing the best that they have since coming together as a squad because of it.

Coaches often talk about how vital it is that everyone turns up to trainings and meetings and that if you don’t it hurts the team as much as the athlete themselves, but after thinking about these facts for my team in particular I don’t think that it is quite true. Having some players away from time to time (especially the strongest in the group) has had the benefit of having the weaker girls be able to have some additional skill focus that may otherwise not have been possible, on the flip side when some of the weaker girls have been away it has meant that the top of the group have been able to do more difficult and complicated training that would not have been possible with “weak links” in the group. I feel that over a long period, having people missing from time to time has actually benefitted the team and now that the whole squad is together for the final weeks of training they can fix any niggling issues that haven’t been present with all 12 not present together.


Before the final competition starts I am going through a process of reflection over the trainings that the team has done. It’s too late now to try to change the plans that we have in place, and the girls will either play well or not, so stressing over what will happen is pointless, but as a coach I think its important to look back at what I planned to achieve and what has actually been achieved.

The team had a big focus on fitness throughout the entire training program, sacrificing 1/4 of every training session to do fitness work just to ensure that the girls were getting it done, this meant that there was a lot of time that could have been spent improving skills was spent on conditioning. The idea behind this was to reduce injury and fatigue not only at the final competition but long term as well. It also was intended to create an increased team bond, and discipline, while developing physical ability to perform tasks that, for some of the girls, would otherwise not be possible. Looking over the season, there were a number of injuries early on in the training program (4 ankles, 2 backs, 3 shoulders, 2 knees, 1 shin splints and a couple of fingers) however now that we are a week out there are only two girls have current issues, both of which are to do with not doing exercises that they were given to do at home. The team has a tight bond and while they complained every second of the first few fitness blocks now they just get it done. While I am not sure that the girls have actually become as strong and fit as I had desired, the purpose of the fitness was more than this and I am confident that it has been beneficial.

Another major focus for the team has been taking responsibility for their actions and managing themselves. One of the biggest issues in junior sport that I see is that the athletes simply cant look after themselves, and if someone doesn’t tell them what to do, they don’t do it. With this team I felt that, seeing as they are getting to the point where they need to be treated as adults in day to day life, I decided that I would treat them as adults. This meant putting expectations on them they may have seemed unreasonable, and some things didn’t happen because it wasn’t driven by the coaching staff, however now that we are approaching the end of the program, all of the girls are turning up early and preparing the court and themselves without instruction (at least most of them) and they are able to run their own warm ups and team meetings including some activities outside of training that were organised entirely without prompting.

The only two other things that were major priorities for me in my planning for the team were having them all continue to play (and preferably compete at AJVC again next year) and for the team to win a medal. Neither of which I can determine at the minute, however I feel that the team in the best position it could be to achieve these two goals that it could be, but only time will tell.

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On court vs Off court

Recently I have had to deal with a number of issues with one of my teams that has been completely unrelated to the sport itself. Instead of improving technical and tactical abilities of the team we are managing player behaviour (or staff in some cases) and persionality clashes. I have noticed this is a common theme in every team that I have beeen involved with, as a player or coach. This is normal and some player management is going to be necessary in all teams, however a problem arises when the coach spends more time on these issues than they do on the on court performance.

I personally have never found the line as a coach where I felt the need to remove a player from the team because the off court drama’s detracted too much from the on court performance. This becomes very taxing as a coach, so maybe the line needs to become more definite. Every team, whether social or professional, beginner or expert, has people that take up a lot of time while others take up minimal amounts of time, but where do you draw the line?

Late last year Pat Rafter made the call as captain of the Australian Davis Cup to to not consider Bernard Tomic for selection, based on his off-court actions and behaviours. In his opinion it is necessary “part of the commitment that we make to athletes and athletes make to the sport is they always put 100 per cent commitment and effort in competing for their country”, and this took priority over selection based on playing performance.

I am not sure that there is a specific ratio of time that needs to be spent on each of these areas of coaching, however in recent times I have noticed that more and more of my time is used dealing with off court dramas, and typically these occur with athletes that are not going to make a significant difference to on court performance. When do you stop trying to control a situation by helping a player and when do you cut your losses and move on?

One thing I can say is when an athlete is not conscious of their behavior, they can have a direct impact on the team, as well as themself. Bad attitudes at training, or not showing up, poor sportsmanship and disrespect tend to prove to a coach and the team, that playing at your best and improving your team are not really a high priority.

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