After the Pigskin Classic, anyone who scrolled on Twitter or Instagram would undoubtedly come across a prominent name in the football community – sophomore quarterback Ty Hawkins. Hawkins may be in the spotlight from a Kens 5 broadcast, but social media has certainly boosted his profile as well. Although many imagine social media for endless scrolling and specific feeds of interest, it can also be a powerful tool for athletes to promote themselves.
“Showing people what I’m doing and how I’m working is big to me,” Hawkins said.
His posts focus on him as mainly a football player, showing pictures of him actively playing on the field in a jersey.
“Snapchat is personal, Twitter is straight for sports and recruiting colleges, Instagram is just posting pictures of myself, Tik Tok is just for fun,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins started up his social media accounts between the ages of 11 and 12.
“My mom helps me a little bit. She used to help me mostly, but now I do most of it by myself,” Hawkins said.
Expressing interest in the NFL as an ideal career, Hawkins has accumulated about 1000 followers on Twitter and Tik Tok and 3000 followers on Instagram.
“It’s just really the only thing I’ve done since me being little, so it’s what I do,” Hawkins said. “It’s the only thing I like. Well, not the only thing I like, but the main thing I like.”
And social media has proven to shine a light on the athlete’s abilities. At least ten colleges have reached out to Hawkins, including UTSA, UIW, Texas A&M, and TCU.
“I think [social media is] definitely positive. I mean, it can be negative if you’re using it too much, but overall it’s positive,” Hawkins said. “It also helps with a lot of things like meeting new people and talking to them.”
For another athlete, senior and setter for varsity volleyball Kendra Grimm, apps such as Huddle, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Sports Recruit are all part of her arsenal for self-promotion.
“I usually use it basically for recruiting reasons for college, because the more you’re putting out there, the more they see you,” Grimm said. “If you search up my name on Google, it will pop up, so it’s a good way for others to know about me, and that can help me kind of further myself.”
Grimm started her accounts around age 13 or 14, with help from her family.
“Some are used for different things. There’s one called Sports Recruit and it tells them how tall I am, kind of not stats, but just information about me more,” Grimm said. “For YouTube, I post actual videos or highlights, so that’s kind of a quick way to see things. And Twitter, if you get an award or something, you just upload it to be like ‘hey, look at me.’”
Grimm started playing volleyball at 5-years-old for fun, but started playing competitively at age eight.
“I’ve been playing it for a long time, so it’s always just comforting. But, I do like a challenging team aspect,” Grimm said. “I’ve found that I love when games are close, because you have to push extra hard to win. I just find it fun.”
According to Grimm, colleges have reached out to her in different ways, and depending on whether she’s active or social media or not, it ranges from D1 to D3 recruiting. Social media has also helped her bring school spirit to the court.
“School-wise, I post about games coming up, so people can watch, because the crowds are a big part in helping us, or I just got an achievement recently so I posted that,” Grimm said.
For Grimm, social media is mostly positive.
“In my eyes, it’s positive. I know it can be negative, but it’s how you use it and what you pay attention to, put your focus into, because it can be negative,” Grimm said. “It can help bring a community together.”
Grimm sees herself using social media for both athletic and non-athletic content in the future.
“I try to not make it a center of my life, because I’d rather focus on school and actually playing than posting stuff on social media,” Grimm said. “But I do think, when I have time, it is nice just to put it out there.”