picYour team wins a football game? Tweet about it. You had a great practice? Post on Facebook. Pump up the crowd at a pep rally? Post a photo to Instagram. But if you are having a bad day, be careful. As cheerleaders, we are constantly being placed in the spotlight and people look up to us. That includes our involvement on social media.

At the University of Alabama, we are always encouraged to use social media positively. Not only are we representing ourselves, but we are also representing the university. Whether you cheer in college, high school or on an all star team, you are representing your squad and are being looked to as a role model. Need some help on keeping your online presence positive? Here are some easy tips to represent the right way:

1. If you can’t tweet anything nice…

It’s easy to use social media as a way to vent about school, practice and pretty much anything that does not go your way. And it’s okay to let it out sometimes. Just be careful about how much you post and what you are saying. Constantly complaining about practice, workouts and events can make you look like a person who doesn’t appreciate the honor of representing your school.

2. Watch the language.

With social media being so easily accessible to children and adults, I always try to keep my sites clean of questionable language and humor. I am even cautious of re-tweeting certain posts. All I can think about is the younger cheerleaders who follow me, and I want to make sure that I am the best role model that I can be. Keeping it classy online is always a good idea.

3. Save the drama for your mama.

It’s much easier to say something online rather that to a person’s face, but that’s no reason to say anything rude or accusatory. With every squad there will always be drama, but it’s best to try to talk it out in-person and in a responsible manner. Facebook or social media is not the place for negativity towards your teammates or anyone else.

Keeping these few tips in mind will not only help you represent your school and team, but will also help you better represent yourself. Once something is posted online, it is there for anyone to see, including coaches, parents and future employers. Have your best interest in mind and keep your social media sites positive. America needs cheerleaders who aren’t just exemplary role models in person, but ones that can be just as positive and inspiring online!