By Michael Carvell
For a coach who resisted Twitter for the longest time, Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson sure looks like he’s having a lot of fun on social media.
Even if you’re not a fan of the Yellow Jackets, Johnson is one of college football’s most entertaining coaches to follow on Twitter.
Unlike his counterpart at UGA, Johnson is quick to offer an opinion on an array of different topics, mostly sports. He’s opinionated, witty, candid and funny. It’s a side of Johnson that doesn’t always come across in press conferences.
“I don’t think (Twitter) is the other side of me,” Johnson said. “I think it’s more of me than what people want to paint. People have agendas. When you have an agenda, you can take anything that’s said and anything that is written, and spin or twist it any way you want. And people do that.”
Has Johnson enjoyed Twitter? “It’s fun, it’s OK, when I have time or I’m watching something or whatever. I think I’ve been on there for (a few months). I’ve got (163) tweets, so it’s not like I’m killing it. I might go a couple of days without one, and then there’s one a day or two a day. If I’m sitting home, watching TV and see something funny, it’s like ‘OK, I’ll tweet about it.’”
Since entering the Twitterverse on February 26, Johnson has amassed nearly 8,000 followers. Like every football coach on Twitter, Johnson joined to publicize his program and personality to Georgia Tech fans and – more importantly – prospective recruits. The kids have made Twitter the social media of choice over Facebook.
How often does Johnson hear about his tweets from people? “Maybe a little but not as much as you would think,” he said. “It’s probably more younger people, students. That generation is probably more on Twitter than my generation. I don’t know a single … I shouldn’t say that … let’s just say the guys I socialize with or play golf with or whatever, I don’t know any of them that are on Twitter. They could be, I don’t know. But that’s not a topic that we talk about.
“Now our players, the student in school here, guys that just got out, the younger generation, yes (they see me on Twitter).”
What about the Twitter trolls who fire off angry and insulting tweets at the Georgia Tech coach? (Opposing fans do that to all coaches, not just Johnson) Yes, he often reads the trolling statements, but he has never responded. Not one time.
“The funny thing is the things that people send my way, especially the opposing schools’ fans,” Johnson said. “It’s hilarious but I don’t respond to that. If that’s all they’ve got to do, truthfully, what are they hoping for? They are hoping that you’ll respond so they can throw it out there because most of them have 10 followers. So you just ignore it.”
“I think I learned a long time ago, I just laugh and let it go. Some of it’s hilarious, some of it is juvenile. I saw a thing on one of those recruiting websites where a fan was tweeting derogatory stuff about the Vanderbilt coach’s wife. You know, come on. That’s nuts.”
With his Twitter stardom growing, Johnson really only needs to improve upon following more Georgia Tech recruiting targets. He only follows two, Callaway High School defensive end KeShun Freeman (committed to the Yellow Jackets) and Arkansas QB commit Rafe Peavey. If a college coach and recruit follow each other, they can communicate via Twitter Direct Messages, which usually arrives on a recruit's cell the same way as text messages. However, unlike text messages, Twitter Direct Messages are an unlimited form of communication, per NCAA rules.
To follow Paul Johnson on Twitter, go to @GTPaulJohnson or CLICK HERE
Man it seems like the @Braves strike out more than a middle aged man in a college bar!! Got to at least put it in play to have a chance— Paul Johnson (@GTPaulJohnson) May 18, 2013