Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder surprised many when he joined Twitter nearly two months ago, but the real surprise came later.
You can see it for yourself at any given moment on any given day. All you have to do is visit Snyder’s Twitter page. The 76-year-old has improbably embraced a social-media platform used by players and recruits younger than some of his grandchildren.
Snyder averages nearly three tweets a day from his @CoachBillSnyder account. That is more than anyone expected, even the members of Snyder’s K-State support staff that convinced him to start an account by framing it as a recruiting tool.
They offered to help him learn how to use Twitter. Whatever he needed to get started, they were willing to provide. Heck, if he really hated it, they could type and send tweets for him. But Snyder wanted no part of that arrangement.
Never miss a local story.
“If I am going to do it, I am going to do it myself,” Snyder said earlier this week. “It is kind of like writing notes or responding to e-mail. It is easy to get somebody else to do it, but, to me, that is not the right way.”
His personal touch stands out. Snyder has sent out nearly 160 tweets since joining Twitter on April 25, accumulating more than 16,200 followers. His posts are nothing flashy, but they are authentic. For the most part, he writes about what he is proud of — his family, his players and the K-State fans that support his football team. Every tweet has a positive spin.
Nothing controversial, newsworthy or entertaining. Certainly no Twitter feuds with other coaches.
“I try to do it once a day if I can find the time to do it, and normally I can,” Snyder said. “So it doesn’t take too much time to do it, but I am learning how to put pictures on there and that is a little tedious for me. It took me quite a bit longer than I wanted.
“Sometimes I have to go ask for help, but we have got a lot of great people around there so they can tell me what to go do and how to do it. Our recruiting coordinator thought it might be a good thing. But at this point in time there isn’t a great deal on it about the recruiting aspect of things. It’s more just daily thoughts.”
Still, Snyder has built a devoted following.
At a recent Catbackers event in Wichita, Snyder stood in front of a packed room and offered to answer football questions. The first inquiry was about Twitter, and it wasn’t even a question. Instead, a man informed Snyder his son was a fan of his social-media posts. So much so, that his son says of Snyder, “If everybody tweeted like you do, the world would be a better place.”
“Tell your son I greatly appreciate that,” he said.
Snyder is trying to do more with Twitter. He recently began retweeting K-State’s main football account. He is also starting to post photos with his messages. He is up to eight so far, sharing images from weddings and other events he attends. Maybe one day he will reply and interact with other Twitter users or answer fan questions. More likely, he will stick with positive thoughts.
Many coaches take a recruiting-first approach to Twitter, but Snyder doesn’t think he will follow the same path. Though his assistants follow recruits and communicate with them through social media, Snyder is comfortable following a mere 13 accounts, most of which are run by K-State football assistants.
So don’t expect a follow from @CoachBillSnyder anytime soon.
“I haven’t opened it up to that, only because I don’t want to short-change somebody,” Snyder said. “If you (follow) X number of guys then you have another X number of guys over here who you aren’t (following) and all of a sudden you have offended them. I certainly wouldn’t want to do that. We have over 700 youngsters on our recruiting board and you can’t respond to 700 different people the right way.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett