by Angela Davis/@ladyadavis/@jerseygirlsport Athletes today are more like celebrities. Gone are the days when they just stayed on the field, court, track, etc., played the game and then went home. Back then, our only connection or inside look into their lives was a feature piece in a magazine or a Barbara Walters special. Now we have social media, and not only do we know what they're doing at all times, but we know what they think, how they feel and what they'll do next--and that's not always a good thing. Social media has definitely changed the landscape of the world. It has allowed millions of people to be connected faster and easier. It has changed the way businesses connect to consumers, the way media circulates information and it has made celebrities, once untouchable, now just a click away. Unfortunately, many don't know how to manage it. There's an old saying that "there's no such thing as bad publicity". I'd challenge that line of thinking, so much so, that I've created a short list of social media rules athletes need to know: 1. Less Is More: We, the fans, don't have to know EVERYTHING all the time. A little mystery can go a long way. Being out in the social media space all the time creates over exposure. After a while, we'll get a little tired of you, especially when you're not winning any games. 2. If You Don't Have Anything Good To Say, Shut Up! This is an old rule your mother should have taught you. Commenting about other athletes' game, or lack thereof, their situation or personal issue in a negative way can sometimes come back and haunt you. Remember, one finger pointed at someone means there are four pointed back at you! We, the fans, don't really like this--especially if you're not winning any games. 3. Put On Your Big-Boy Pants: When you're out in "social media land" you have to know that not everyone will like you. In fact, you'll get and read more criticisms, judgements and crazy commentary than you can ever imagine. You need tough skin and the ability to let some things roll off your back when you participate in social media. While you have more access to mainstream media, when it comes to social media, the fans rule! 4. Think Before You Post: Here's another golden rule: Read and re-read your post before you hit 'send'. Nothing is harder than trying to recant a statement. Once it's out, it's out there...forever! Unfortunately, with Twitter, you can make stupid statements in 140 words or less, and many athletes are spending time writing apologies for things that were best left unsaid. Remember it's social media, not personal media. Keep private conversations out of the public space. It's important to add that this not only applies to Twitter, but also to video and 'live' posts where fans can see what's happening in 'real time'. Steelers Antonio Brown should have read this. Actually, he should have known better. Social media that violates the unwritten-but-understood rules about the team and culture of that sport is almost unforgivable. 5. Social Media Can Be Good For You: More than anything, social media can help your image. You can respond, chat and/or talk directly to fans, promote a charitable cause you support and even head off rumors and bad reports. It's a great tool to use to build your brand and expand your power. Dwyane Wade uses social media to engage and answer questions from fans and it's help build his brand and image. Social Media is powerful! For athletes, the message is clear: be smart about social media AND make sure you're spending more time winning games than posting!