by Kakie Urch
The Big Blue Nation is roaring a little -- putting new University of Kentucky men's basketball Coach John Calipari -- over 10,000 followers in 4 days on Twitter, the social media Web site that deals in 140-character status updates called "tweets."
Coach Calipari caused a ripple in the Twitterverse, creating an account at @ukcoachcalipari late Thursday afternoon and apparently actually "tweeting" his activities and his opinions of private practices with standouts Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks.
(Some public figures on Twitter use "ghost tweeters," but Calipari's posts seem for the most part genuine. He's also posting an inspirational message to begin every week on Monday mornings.)
Thousands of Kentucky fans have signed up just to "follow" Calipari's status updates (know them by their profile pics which are still the brown-and-light-blue nonentities assigned by Twitter).
The fans are messaging Calipari their gratitude for him coming here, their approval of everything from his visits to Massachusetts to visit his daughter, to his golf outings with his son Brad and his assessment of how certain players might fare in the "dribble-drive" game he's touting. He's also posted a tweet about his fandom for his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers and been gently reminded that "this is Bengal Country, coach."
But on Monday morning, it became an intercollegiate, not intramural, sport when Indiana Coach Tom Crean, on his Twitter account, issued a challenge to his Hoosier Nation to best the Kentucky fans. Calipari, the former University of Memphis head coach who has just taken the job at UK, upped the ante. Coach Cal vowed he'd get to 10,000 Twitter followers in four days....presumably by midnight tonight.
The Calipari count was about 9,747 ....with about 7 hours to go. That was 75 or so new follows an hour that the coach needed for support. But by shortly after 8 p.m., Coach Calipari notched his 10,000th follow --- if I'm counting backwards correctly, it's a follower called @notelvis -- David Pressley. (For help on counting backwards, I'll tweet @billygillispie?)
Now Coach Cal has asked fans to go for 20,000... still a small number compared to the hundreds of thousands and even millions of Tweeps following some celebrities, industry leaders, musicians and news organizations...but not at all impossible with the Big Blue Nation.
If downtown denizens sign up....Ace Weekly urges you tell him how cool he is for living ITC. (Inside the Circle). His Italianate mansion on Richmond Road can't be more than about a mile and a half from the Joe Craft Center, where his office is. It's not even a mile from Rupp Arena, where his office really is.
And please, while you're on the Twitter, oh please, someone help a brother out for @johnpelphrey.
This tweet just moved, out of sheerRazorback jealousy:
@wholehogsports Awesome. @UKCoachCalipari is up to 10k followers in 4 days. Someone has got to get the UA coaches on the bandwagon. @johnpelphrey sits at 3.
Y'all. He's one of ours.