Mark Richt is finally beginning to understand the power of Twitter.
The UGA football coach has more than 62,000 followers on the social-media platform. He can instantly spread the word about a lot of things to a lot of people, including impressionable recruits who follow him on Twitter.
“Twitter has gone a little crazy in recruiting,” Richt said. “Direct messages to kids are legal. And Facebook, there’s still a lot of communication going on through Facebook. But we just talked the other day — I personally need to get more involved on the direct messaging on Twitter because that’s where a lot of them are solely doing their social-media communication.”
Richt was a pioneer on Twitter, one of the first college coaches to sign up for an account and tweet on a semi-regular basis. He joined Twitter in 2009 with the help of Josh Brooks, one of UGA’s assistant athletic directors. However, Richt’s initial interest faded quickly.
“After awhile, I guess I just got tired of it, or whatever else you want to say, but we quit doing it for awhile. And then gosh, in the last year or so, I got back to doing it again. It might have been a three-year hiatus from even posting anything. I got back to doing it again (last summer).
“There’s just so many people communicating that way and following your program that way. And it’s the way to put really positive content out on our program, let people have a little bit of an inside feel on what’s going on here at Georgia, and what might be going on in my life or whatever — not that I do a lot of that.”
These days, with recruiting on his mind, Richt is a Twitter regular. He has gotten a lot more comfortable with the technology, sending out videos and pictures. Despite rumors to the contrary, Richt claims he writes the tweets himself.
“Sometimes, I will have a little help if I’m trying to add a link to a video or something like that,” Richt said. “I’m getting a little more savvy on that. I think Twitter is just the way a lot of people communicate these days, and it’s a good way to spread the good news about Georgia.”
Twitter profile: UGA football coach Mark Richt
Screen name: @MarkRicht
The basics: He has more than 62,500 followers. Richt follows only four people: his wife, his two sons and Georgia football’s official account. He has been on Twitter since 2009. After a three-year hiatus, he ramped up his activity last summer. He usually tweets once per weekday and has never interacted with any of his followers.
Twitter personality: Richt tweets in the same style he uses to speak in a news conference: He’s politically correct, he’s positive and he’s generic. In other words, he’s not going to create any waves on Twitter. However, every once in a while, Richt will drop his guard and surprise you. Probably the most recent surprise was Richt tweeting a photo of his “Hot Dawg Delight” birthday dinner. He explained in another tweet, “If you are wondering what Hot Dawg Delight is. … It’s toasted bread, cooked hot dogs, melted cheese, baked beans and ketchup. Mmm Mmm Good”
Three best recent tweets: “SWEET 16!!! Keep it going! Georgia LadyDawgs are on fire!” (March 26). … “Get out the broom! Georgia Baseball sweeps UAB. Three in a row. Congrats to Coach Perno and The Diamond Dawgs!!” (March 3). … “Thanks to everyone who helped us sign an Awesome Class! The future is very bright in the Bulldog Nation!! Let’s get to work! GO DAWGS!!” (Feb. 6).
Best Georgia assistant to follow on Twitter: It’s not even close. It’s tight ends coach John Lilly. He “gets it” with social media and has the makings of a Twitter superstar. He’s creative with his comments. He’s witty and funny. He interacts with his followers, and he tweets on a daily basis. He’s worth a follow at @JohnLillyUGA.
Richt’s grade: B, only because he’s now tweeting a lot of pictures and links to videos. He could quickly jump to an ‘A’ if he revealed a little more personality.