A Social Athlete - Sarah B. True

Sports Marketing Today


When I first started out as a professional triathlete over ten years ago, the social media expectations placed on athletes were simple: they didn’t exist. Facebook was purely for connecting with friends, YouTube was for random cat videos and Instagram and Twitter hadn’t yet been launched. Sponsors and fans expected nothing of us beyond getting race results, the occasional blog post and a sporadic in-person appearance. 

Over time, I noticed how important Twitter and Instagram became to the sporting world. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Twitter became the default means of communication by athletes to outside world. At the 2016 Games, Instagram was the app of choice by athletes. In the past few months, I’ve watched as subscription channels on YouTube have taken off in unexpected ways. Platforms are multiplying and ever changing, as are the expectations that we participate in them. 


Be True


Nowadays, the pressure to have a strong social media presence can be overwhelming. For those of us who view social media with ambivalence, it can feel like a burden and unnecessary distraction from racing and training. With so much blatant self-promotion and photos manipulated to illicit the maximum number of “likes”, it can frequently seem like Twitter and Instagram are the playground for the vain and attention seeking. While some athletes have transitioned seamlessly to this new state of affairs, it can be a real struggle for those of us who would rather sit around in sweatpants than crafting the perfect selfie on the bike trainer. 


Finding a Balance


When I met Ansel, my eyes started to open to the positive side of social media as an athlete. Twitter, Instagram etc. have their indisputable downsides, but they also provide a powerful platform to connect with your community. For me, it’s transformed into a way to share my unique journey as a professional athlete, the beauty of my home in New England and show the world who I am beyond being a triathlete. Not everything has to be photoshopped and carefully curated; people respond to an authentic message and that is something that compels me to engage online. 


Your Social Coach


Being an athlete is a job of constantly managing your energy and I’ve always viewed most social media engagement as a potential energy drain. Working with a company like Vermont Social allows you to better conserve your energy for what you love to do. Instead of trying to navigate the social media world and trying to come up with authentic content yourself, Ansel is an observer, noticing and capturing the small details that make your world special. No poses, no photoshop, no fuss. And that means more potential time to lounge in sweatpants.


Sarah True - 6/25/2018

Ansel Dickey