Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Be Right, Be Wrong, Bielema

Current Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema is the social media polar opposite of the man he replaced, Bobby Petrino.  We created and held Petrino's Twitter feed to protect his name from spoofs, and without saying a word it reached about 5,000 followers.  This is not to say Petrino was ignorant of social media - in fact there were concerted monitoring and use of social and participatory media that emanated from the Broyles Center Second Floor.  More accurate, he was indifferent to how it would help his recruiting.

Not so for Bielema.  From back-and-forth with his former Wisconsin fans to stirring up Alabama fans, you have someone who is "gets it".  No real surprise as he cut his social media teeth with one of the better social media teams in Division I.

However, April 1 was, to use another former Razorback head coach's favorite word, special.  This year is the first anniversary of the Great Motorcycle Wreck.  Recall, Petrino's spill happened on April 1, which led many to see it as a very sick joke when word first leaked out.

The Razorback fan base went into gleeful overdrive at the post from the Bret Bielema Facebook page on April 1, 2013:

"Don't worry.  No motorcycles today."

I joined in along with literally thousands of Arkansas followers with shares and reposts of that simple line.  Funny.  Edgy.  Tongue in cheek.

As you are about to guess, it wasn't Coach Bielema.

The Facebook page is clear that it is an "unofficial fan page," but judging from the almost 6,000 likes (on a page with 23K followers) Hog fans sure wish he did.  In fact, a scan of the 1,500 comments finds the positive reaction something in the 15:1 to 20:1 range.

However, on his Twitter feed, Bielema did almost the same message.  Responding to the dust-up with Bama fans, Bielema gave an homage to his doppleganger:

"Things to chill out about today:
1 - I'm only driving my car today
2 - Alabama quotes were a joke to a question from a fan at a pep rally #wow"

Conclusion?  Both Brets seem to be on the same page. They have the same sense of humor.

And both seem to subscribe to the P.T. Barnum School of PR: "I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right."

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