How Lane Kiffin is Using Social Media to Stay Relevant at FAU

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How Lane Kiffin is Using Social Media to Stay Relevant at FAU

In order to have a better understanding of who Lane Kiffin is before I get into how he has made an impact on social media, I’d like to give a quick summary of his career path up to this point.  Lane Kiffin got a few big breaks very early in his career and ran into turmoil at every opportunity.  At 31 years old, he became the youngest head coach with the NFL, but only lasted just over one season with the Oakland Raiders before he was fired.  His next stop came with the University of Tennessee as their head coach, but he only spent one year in Knoxville before bolting back to the west coast to be the head coach of USC where he spent the next 3 years before being fired just a few games into the season.  Understandably, after these spectacular failures there weren’t any head coaching offers coming his way, so he joined Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama for three seasons before accepting the head coach job at Florida Atlantic University last year.

I doubt that most people reading this could name the city FAU is located in, what their mascot is, or even what conference they play in.  When Lane Kiffin accepted this job, he was well aware that traditional media outlets wouldn’t be featuring stories on him and his team unless he gave them something to talk about.  Just a few weeks into his tenure at FAU, he released this intentionally cringe worthy video that quickly went viral:

Nobody would have paid attention to that video had Lane Kiffin shown real enthusiasm and thrown out a lot of generic coaching clichés, but because this looked like a hostage video he was featured on many sports websites and trending all over Twitter.

 

Since then he has selectively interjected himself into topics making news in the sports world and proceeded to be a bit of a “troll”, gaining the attention of thousands and making headlines along the way.  His favorite topics to comment on throughout the most recent CFB season was anything related to Alabama Football as well as the chaotic coaching search to fill his former job as the head coach of Tennessee.  Here are some of his best tweets regarding the Tennessee coaching search, where thousands of Tennessee fans begged the administration to bring Lane back.  He even goes on to bring the leader of North Korea into things.

 

Nick Saban had a rather notable press conference this season in which he compared the media’s praise of his team to “rat poison”, indicating that the praise was very detrimental to his team and their motivation.  Of course Lane had a lot of fun with this one with dozens and dozens of tweets over a 3 month period, there’s no way I can link to all of them so I’ll just show one of my favorite ones.

Now Lane claims that he doesn’t put much thought or time into making these posts and that young assistants on his staff are the driving force behind a lot of his social media activity.  Regardless of whether or not that’s true he definitely has a talent for stirring the pot and doesn’t appear to be “logging off” anytime soon.  He had a lot of success in year one with the Owls, and if that success continues he will undoubtedly land a big job somewhere.  When he gets that next big job, it will be interesting to see whether or not he continues to rock the boat or if the pressures that go along with major college football cause him to become as tame as every other coach is on social media.  This has been just a small sampling of Lane’s activity on Twitter, and I absolutely reccommend giving him a follow if you enjoyed any of these as there is assuredly much more to come.


3 Comments

Matthew Stritch

Matthew Stritch

January 22, 2018at 7:39 pm

There’s definitely a growing trend in smaller brands using social media to stir the pot and draw attention to themselves that they wouldn’t be able to get. It’ll be interesting to see if Kiffin can keeping making posts like this without any significant backlash.

Samuel Speir

Samuel Speir

January 22, 2018at 8:23 pm

Lane Kiffin is definitely an interesting guy. Based off of his track record, I’m not sure that he’ll be getting any big-time head coaching jobs anytime soon. However I wouldn’t be surprised if he did land another OC gig somewhere…I doubt he’ll continue to troll other programs once he starts coaching at a big school.

John Brocksmith

John Brocksmith

January 22, 2018at 8:50 pm

I think Lane Kiffin has successfully used social media to pivot and change how people view him. Being labeled as a “troll” now falls in line with other celebrities and businesses who have taken this path to gain more notoriety (i.e. Wendy’s). In the long run, I think Lane Kiffin will get another shot at a big name program as well. He almost had another shot this upcoming year if he decided to go back to Tennessee. However, I think the smart thing is to just ride out his time right now at FAU where expectations are low, and where he’ll be able to continuously build his stock up as a head coach.

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