If you’re a McGill student that cares even a little bit about McGill sports, odds are you follow @mcgillathletics on Instagram. With over 10,000 followers, the Instagram account connects athletes, students, fans, and alumni who root for the Martlets and the Redbirds. From schedule updates to analytics to live game coverage, the beautifully curated content leaves many followers wondering: Who is behind the account?
Matt Garies and Evelyn Silverson-Tokatlidis are the architects behind all of the McGill Athletics accounts on social media, including Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. Silverson-Tokatlidis is the Social Media Coordinator for McGill Athletics, while Garies is the Creative Lead. Silverson-Tokatlidis is a former student-athlete who played on the Martlets rugby team for five years and is also the former president of the McGill Varsity Council. Garies is the official sports photographer for McGill Athletics and does a variety of freelance work for various brands, including the Montreal Canadiens and Sportsnet.
The duo brings a multifaceted perspective to social media management. Silverson-Tokatlidis’ experience as a student-athlete gives her a better understanding of athletes’ needs, while Garies’ experience as a sports photographer allows him to skillfully capture the essence of McGill sports.
“Our main goal is to have people follow along with our athletes and create that connection for an online audience,” Silverson-Tokatlidis told The Tribune. “[We hope] to share the voices of our athletes and showcase that student side of athletics at McGill.”
Central to fostering this connection is ensuring that students have quick and easy access to information about athletics. Whether it’s the latest scores or upcoming game schedules, providing followers with timely and engaging content is key to building a dynamic sports scene at McGill.
“We want to be constantly engaging as a focal point of content,” Garies said. “We want people coming to our Instagram to get updates and information, and then we can use that as a quicker social point for easy access to links. Our goal was to sort of create a memory where people will be like, ‘Oh, I can check the Instagram; everything will be there.’”
However, running the McGill Athletics social media is not just getting to attend all the games for free and meet athletes––it’s a complex and demanding job that requires creativity, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of social media trends.
“We definitely have to be up to date regarding trends,” Silverson-Tokatlidis said. “Even bridging the gap between our first-year athletes and sixth-year athletes [is a challenge] because there are a lot of differences in the way in which people communicate. It’s about trying to find that middle ground and find trends that appeal to everybody.”
Keeping up to date also requires research on how other teams’ social media management, professional and otherwise, run their accounts. However, they always make sure to maintain a personality fans can recognize.
“Our voice does shine through a little bit to make our brand a little bit unique,” Garies said. “We also know our athletes very well because we speak to them all the time, which gives us a pretty relatable way of communicating.”
Garies and Silverson-Tokatlidis go beyond just posting on Instagram to amplify the voices of McGill’s athletes. They also lead the production of the UNSCRIPTED Series on the McGill Athletics YouTube channel, which features interviews with student-athletes specifically highlighting the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and 2SLGBTQIA+ athletes.
McGill Athletics’ social media presence has become central to the university’s sports culture. Silverson-Tokatlidis’ and Garies’ tireless efforts allow fans to feel connected to athletes by uplifting their stories Their work goes beyond just running social media accounts—it is a crucial part of building a strong and inclusive sports culture at McGill.