Just about everybody is on one social network or another; Facebook and MySpace lead the charge with 150 million and 115 million users, respectively. It's a great way to upload photos, make comments, and reconnect/stay connected with people.
However, more and more colleges are using social networks, not only to communicate with prospects, but to do research and keep an eye on them as well.
When it comes to college recruiting and potentially $100,000 in scholarship money, student-athletes need to very cautious about what is posted on their profiles.
Picture Worth a Thousand Words
I currently work with a college kicker who is graduating and hoping to get a shot at the pros. When I became his "friend" on Facebook, I had the ability to look at his profile and all of his photos.
I came across several where he had been tagged by others while attending a Halloween costume party. In several of the photos, he was holding a beer. He is over 21 and legally allowed to drink alcohol, but I don't think that he would want NFL teams seeing photos of him partying.
Both NFL and colleges want to recruit athletes with integrity, good character, etc. The Internet in general, makes it easier for everyone to find and see people.
What Recruits Need to Do
If you are actively using your social network profiles, exercise caution in what you post and be aware of what others may post about you. Ultimately, you shouldn't have to worry about what is or is not posted about you if you are an upstanding citizen.
However, high school athletes are still young and make mistakes from time to time. When those mistakes are made, just make sure that they don't find their way onto the internet...Here is a good article on this topic.
Be smart on the field, at school, at events and online.