Why Nebraska Must Have a Presence on Twitter

By at June 21, 2012 | 8:00 AM | Print

Why Nebraska Must Have a Presence on Twitter

Think of Twitter as a small, three-inch pocket knife in the eyes of Nebraska’s athletic department. They went without using  it for a while and had no issues. On a June afternoon, they finally had a use for it. Suddenly, the AD sees (and has reason to look for) more ways to take advantage of it.

Nebraska’s football staff hasn’t been very involved with Twitter aside from the video team and equipment managers. There was no overwhelming need. During Big Red Weekend, many a tweet was stamped with the staff’s use of the #HuskerBRW hashtag across the ever-growing medium.

Now that more coaches than Tim Miles have embraced the idea, I’d like to see it continue.

– For The Fans

The number of Huskers who are active online is enormous. We storm online polls, leave comments on opposing teams’ articles by the dozens and “Like” everything even remotely Nebraska-related on Facebook.

I have no idea how many are on Twitter, but even if it’s a few thousand, actively tweeting takes so little effort. The few seconds necessary can be very powerful.

There are different types of online fans. First, the kind who uses the internet to be interactive – they post on message boards, interact with Facebook groups and tweet with other fans.

The second may be a member of said message board, be in those groups and may have a Twitter account, but they only observe. With an occasional tweet, all fans can be easily pleased. It gives the interactive fans something to chat about and whets the appetite of the casual observer.
























Take the photos above, for example. From pulling out a phone to tweeting the pictures, this may have taken all of a minute to do. For that minuscule effort, fans who follow Nebraska sports online were rewarded with a look inside a place very special to them.

Rather than just read about the home run contest and player panel, fans got a glimpse. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I never mind seeing a photo with a Nebraska national championship trophy in it. The “inside look” is something all fans can enjoy, and just because the staff took a few extra seconds of their day.

Beyond the entertainment and chatter, getting the Husker staff to tweet could produce something no major college football coach (or coaches) can ever have too much of: good will.

Creating exchanges between fans and staff, has tremendous upside. Fans will happily take a tweet here, an update there and a picture thrown in for good measure. As the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.” In Nebraska it’s closer to “Happy football fans, far easier job for everyone in North Stadium.”

– For The Recruits

If you follow recruiting, you know Nebraska’s coaches are great about utilizing Facebook to keep in touch. To me, that indicates a willingness to adapt. Utilizing Twitter would be the next big step for Husker football in the world of social media.

I do not expect, nor hope for, the staff to start tweeting at every turn. However, for a school like Nebraska, it’s important to utilize every advantage available. If Twitter provides that, the Huskers can’t afford to not be a part of the trend. Show recruits and their families that Nebraska is a traditional power on the bleeding edge.

Recruits, like fans of the schools they’re examining, want to see more than just what the Memorial Stadium tour shows. They want to know about the staff, what’s behind the scenes and what makes their potential future coaches tick. Twitter provides that and more.

Coaches might tweet what they’re up to with the family, pictures of practice or team activities and recruits can see every bit of it. These young athletes and their families can get a thorough sense of the school and community they’re looking at even from hundreds of miles away.

– Looking Ahead

With Big Red Weekend in the rear view mirror, Nebraska can learn a thing or two moving forward.

First, to publicize. Though recruitniks knew about BRW, many Husker fans didn’t. It was a pleasant surprise on Saturday afternoon, but the event still left many guessing. Creating awareness with a hashtag like #HuskerBRW a few days in advance can build some excitement – something college football thrives on.

You’ll never hear a recruit talk down about a school because the atmosphere was ‘too electric.’ Nebraska has one of the most passionate fanbases on and offline – use it.

Second, acknowledge the following: There are fans who are spending their Saturday afternoon refreshing Twitter. To me, this applies more to future events than a recruiting-focused event like BRW.

Encouraging fans to come to a pre-game event, support a Husker-related cause or praising students who shrug off the cold to get great seats for an 11 AM kickoff are all great uses of social media.

There are countless ways to utilize Twitter. If Tom Osborne can be convinced, so can everyone else in North Stadium.

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @BornToBeRed247

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