Building a Twitter following can be seen as a mechanism for developing an individual’s personal brand. Athletes are investing in growing their personal brands at a young age. We find evidence for this phenomenon in an examination of the young men who signed letters of intent for college football yesterday. The table above presents a Twitter profile for the top thirty high school senior football players according to ESPN (we were not able to locate a Twitter account for Juju Smith & Dalvin Cook, so they have been excluded). In addition to the overall total Twitter followers for each student, we also looked at the Twitter activity for each student in the last seven days. We collected all tweets that included the student’s Twitter handle (e.g. @JabrillPeppers) over the last seven days. The tweets were classified as having positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. A few observations:
1) Each student on the list has over 1,000 Twitter followers. The median is just above 5K followers.
2) Students that waited until National Signing Day to announce their decision, tended to have more tweets overall and more negative tweets.
3) The majority (85%) of the tweets over the last seven days occurred on National Signing Day.
This is just a snapshot of the top thirty, but we plan to study a larger pool of student-athletes over time, to analyze how their decisions and performance impact their personal brands.
Mike Lewis & Manish Tripathi, Emory 2014.