What would sports writers do without social media? How did we ever live without it? Did we actually used to work for a living? Luckily the dark ages of not having controversial tweets or bulletin-board material posted on Facebook are far behind us.
Social media is not only wonderful for being snarky and ill-mannered, it can also be useful. In fact, college football coaches use the direct message functions to converse with recruits on a daily basis, bypassing a NCAA rule that prohibits the coaches from sending texts to prospects. Yes, it is against the rules to text a high school player, but a coach can talk to him non-stop on Twitter or Facebook.
So which coaches are using social media to their advantage? There is no way to objectively measure the effectiveness when it comes to team management or recruiting. However, we can measure how much influence college coaches and their schools have in the social media world. Enter Klout.
Klout is a company based in San Francisco that measures online social influence. The Klout app and website use social media analytics to determine a Klout score. From the Klout website: "The Klout Score is a number between 1-100 that represents your influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score."
So who has the highest Klout score among coaches in the SEC?
Coach / Klout Score / Followers / Number of tweets / Twitter account
Les Miles / 81 / 133K / 727 / @LSUCoachMiles
Hugh Freeze / 68 / 69.3K / 6150 / @CoachHughFreeze
Kevin Sumlin / 68 / 59.2K 2024 / @CoachSumlin
Gus Malzahn / 65 / 84K / 287 / @CoachGusMalzahn
Bret Beliema / 65 / 85.6K / 1723 / @BretBielema
Butch Jones / 65 / 120K / 4908 / @UTCoachJones
Mark Richt / 64 / 113K / 442 / @MarkRicht
Will Muschamp / 63 / 55.3K / 412 / @CoachWMuschamp
Dan Mullen / 63 / 54.9K / 1998 / @CoachDanMullen
Gary Pinkel / 62 / 48.3K / 3626 / @GaryPinkel
Mark Stoops / 59 / 66.7K / 682 / @UKCoachStoops
Derek Mason / 58 / 12.8K / 87 / @CoachDerekMason
The Mad Hatter of Baton Rouge leaves his colleagues behind when it comes to social influence. Must be all the grass he eats. Although, there are two big names are missing from that list. Alabama's Nick Saban could likely shoot to the top of the list were he to ever join Twitter. As for Steve Spurrier of South Carolina, his jabs at other schools would be perfect for Twitter and Facebook.
Speaking of jabs, Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calapari could get in a few at the expense of the football coaches in the SEC. His Klout score is far higher than any of theirs, 86, and his 1.27 million followers are more than all the SEC football coaches combined.
So those are the individual Klout scores for coaches. Let us turn our attention to the scores of each SEC football office. For the time being we will ignore Calapari and Kentucky basketball. This gives us a better idea of each program's influence since it reflects an entire department and not just one charismatic (or not) coach.
School / Klout Score / Followers / Football Twitter account
Florida / 71 / 72.8K / @GatorZoneFB
Tennessee / 69 / 108K / @Vol_Football
LSU / 68 / 145K / @LSUfball
Alabama / 67 / 151K / @AlabamaFTBL
Auburn / 67 / 108K / @FootballAU
Texas A&M / 67 / 100K / @AggieFootball
Georgia / 67 / 83K / @FootballUGA
South Carolina / 65 / 66.7K / @GamecockFB
Mississippi State / 65 / 35.3K / @HailStateFB
Vanderbilt / 63 / 22.3K / @VandyFootball
Mississippi / 63 / 43.4K / @OleMissFB
Arkansas / 63 / 44.5K / @RazorbackFB
Missouri / 62 / 12.4K / @mizzoufootball
Kentucky / 61 / 38.8K / @UKFootball
The Gators top the list despite not having only half as many followers as LSU or Alabama. That just goes to show that retweets, shares and interactions mean more than just follower counts. Tennessee's high score demonstrates that influence is not determined solely by your win-loss record. Kentucky's score shows that yes, the Wildcats are still a basketball school. On a side not, all of the SEC football programs together still trail Calapari when it comes to followers.