Social media can be a tool for success or a detriment to one's growth through their desired activity or profession.
That's what Denver Broncos senior strategic communications manager Seth Medvin spent time telling the high school athletes that made their way through the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse. During the CHSAA and Denver Broncos fall sports media day, Medvin provided a lecture on social media use and how to use it in a way that is responsible and positive.
"The unique thing with social media training for high school athletes is they're exposed to it than even pro athletes are right now," Medvin said. "We're getting rookies in that were very active on social media when they were in high school. Athletes coming out now, they've been on social media since they were in maybe elementary school. It's important as they've had much more experience in it that the education is more important at a younger age because it sticks with them and it really is their digital footprint."
It's something that the players might be told about from time to time but getting a thorough lesson about the dangers of social media and how to protect themselves served as a bit of a wakeup call.
The levels of play might be different, but the lessons learned can transcend those levels. Social media posts can fuel intensity before a game or cast a player in poor light when simply looking at typed words with no context.
Medvin's goal was to to show young players hoping to have a future in their sport of choice how to be preventative when it comes to getting into trouble with Twitter or Instagram. And it was a message that a lot of the kids paid attention to.
"I think it was a great thing for us," Hoehne lineman Antonio Moltrer said. "As kids, we're going to do dumb stuff. This helped us open our eyes to make sure we don't (do those dumb things)."
Medvin didn't hold back on his examples. He pointed out current professional athletes and referenced their draft stock ahead of teams digging into their social media pasts. The tweets that were uncovered were less than flattering.
And the consequences that followed were jarring. Rather than being a first round pick, this guy went in the fourth. With that came a salary difference of this many millions of dollars. And he stressed that even if a kid's future isn't in professional athletics, those things can still come back and cause havoc when finding a job or applying for schools.
The coaches in attendance were also appreciative of the message. Sometimes with high school athletes - or even just kids in general — a lecture from a coach or a teacher can be disregarded fairly easily. When the Denver Broncos deliver the message, however, they tend to perk up a bit.
"I think it's great exposure," Otis volleyball coach Bonnie Wallin-Kuntz said. "These kids are living in a glass bubble and everyone is looking at them daily. I don't think they realize that people are watching and looking. They have to be aware of it."
And they need to be aware of it now. As group after group sat in front of a projector and listened to Medvin, his passion and emphasis never eased. Every football player coming through the facility would love to play for the Denver Broncos. But that path doesn't begin after it high school. It doesn't begin during a college football career. It starts with the little things these kids are doing right now on a daily basis.
"What they do can affect them tomorrow," Medvin said. "These kids are coming and going into colleges. I'm sure these colleges are searching for social media profiles. It is so easy to find negatives in their accounts, but it's also really easy to build a positive profile and start the positive use of social media at a young age."
When jokingly asked, several players said they didn't have to jump online and delete any posts after listening to Medvin. It's a good start, but the hope is that the message sinks in even years down the road.