Almost every athlete uses Facebook or Instagram. This has many advantages but also disadvantages. Ex-top runner Sabrina Mockenhaupt spoke on the TV show SWR Sport in RLP about the curse and blessing of social networks.
If Instagram didn’t already exist, it would have had to be invented for people like Sabrina Mockenhaupt. The 40-year-old had already attracted attention during her career not only because of her top sporting performances, but also because of her pronounced need to communicate. The 45-time German champion always had a saying on her lips and let the public participate in her ups and downs.
Instagram is a time thief
Nevertheless, Mockenhaupt is happy that Instagram and Co. did not exist when they were active. “If I took a nap earlier, then I wouldn’t have had time to upload a video. Instagram is a real time thief,” she says in an interview with SWR presenter Tom Bartels. The end of her athletic career was the beginning of her social media career. Mocki – as her fans call her – has more than 100,000 followers. A large fan base that she reaches with videos on all sorts of topics. Whether with photos of gala events like the sports press ball in Frankfurt or training tips for breastfeeding mothers – Mocki entertains her followers and of course she also advertises one or the other product. The bottom line is that as an influencer, it’s all about making money.
Not dependent on income as an influencer
But Mockenhaupt is not financially dependent on income as an influencer. “I can make money with it, but I don’t have to,” she says, and that’s the crucial difference. “Otherwise Instagram can make you sick,” she freely admits. The compulsion to post stories all the time and everywhere, the constant comparison with others and of course also hateful comments from people who lack any decency in the anonymity – she cannot completely escape all of this, but she can do it with a certain serenity bypass. “My thesis is that they are people who are dissatisfied with themselves who are sitting somewhere in the basement and starting to complain,” says Mockenhaupt about the anonymous hateful comments.
There is a fine line between being close to the fans and shit storm
Many athletes have already experienced how quickly a seemingly harmless posting can turn into a veritable shit storm. A video is posted from the crew cabin without paying attention to the fact that statements are being heard that are not intended for unfamiliar ears. “As nice as it is to take fans up close and personal and give them personal insights. You should also think about the consequences,” says Wiebke Dierkes, sports and communication scientist at the German Sport University in Cologne. “In some cases it is also advisable to hand over the supervision of your own social media presence to professionals in order to be able to concentrate on the essentials”, advises the expert.
Draw clear lines
For Sabrina Mockenhaupt, appearances on social networks are an opportunity to continue using her popularity after her career. But it draws clear lines. Her child is now keeping her out, she doesn’t want to earn money at the expense of her little daughter. Mocki sums up her motto in her blunt way: “I don’t have to post anything in the toilet and I don’t have to hold all shit in the camera.”