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Ole Miss Rebels Signing Day Goes Social

Social media adds interest to Signing Day viewers at the Rib Cage on the Square in Oxford. Photo by Ana Martinez.

Thanks to the explosion of social media, it has become easier than ever for fans and athletes to find news about Signing Day. Across sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Signing Day has become one of the highest social traffic days for Ole Miss.
According to the Associate Athletics Director, Kyle Campbell, social media account managers are working “hand-in-hand” with the coaches to showcase these young athletes and their families. “Through highlight reels and hype videos, we celebrate these new student-athletes,” Campbell said.
The university’s digital metrics experience anywhere from four to 18 times more visitors than on an average day. Some of the most engaging posts come from the athletes themselves.
“These are 17- and 18-year-olds doing this,” said an instructor in Integrated Marketing Communications, Ji Hoon Heo. “You have these kids saying, ‘I’m so happy to be an Ole Miss Rebel…’ those things are being broadcast first on Twitter, Instagram, all their social media accounts.”
Social media has helped millions share news more frequently and proficiently, giving the fans minute-by-minute updates on the athletes.
Jim Hanauer, an assistant athletics director, said on the Ole Miss Sports website that the Rebels’ Twitter account is one of the most used platforms with 1.5 million tweet views in 2016.  Heo said information has an impact on what journalists report.
“Once, the news goes out on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, newspapers pick it up,” Heo said.
Aside from the university’s networks, other news aggregators such as CBS Sports, ESPN and Yahoo are frequently updating events throughout the day.
“Signing Day is a huge opportunity to generate excitement,” Campbell said. “Our official team accounts are the first to officially announce a signee.”
Throughout the day athletes will be signing at different locations on campus, such as the Manning Center and the indoor football practice facility. Real-time alerts for the events are being broadcast via the Ole Miss app, and you can find a live stream on Ole Miss Sports.com.
“We strive to be as engaging as possible,” Campbell said. “In hopes that our fans come away from Signing Day confident that our program is pointed in the right direction.”

Story contributed by Meek School of Journalism & New Media students Connor Heitzmann, Anna Martinez and Ashley Thusius.
For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com.

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