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Mo Krochmal is a New York-based journalist and educator, focused on digital strategy, social media and mobile. He holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in sociology and anthropology from North Carolina State University. He has taught at...


(Above) A new promo for ESPN's SportsCenter, featuring Detroit's Calvin Johnson. 

Detroit's Calvin Johnson Gets Social Media Boost Off the Field 

By Mo Krochmal

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the NFL's Detroit Lions had four catches for 37 yards and didn't score in the 34-24 win over Minnesota on Sunday in the season opener. But on Tuesday, he came up  big in the first week for the SMNNY Fantasy Football Social Medians, our season-long project.

Johnson was among a group of wide receivers ranked at No. 40 by the NFL statisticians Tuesday. His on-field performance was lackluster and he only tweeted twice in the week leading up to the game. Maybe his increase in social media fans came from the airing of a new promo for ESPN's SportsCenter. (See YouTube embed, above).

After the games were played, and after checking numbers from the NFL and from social media analytics, Johnson emerged as the top Klout score gainer on the 10 spots of SMNNY's Social Media Fantasy Team, which is determined in the preseason by our review of on-field play and social media participation. The team consists of a quarterback, three wide receivers, three running backs, a tight end and a kicker as well as a team defense.

Johnson's Klout improved to 70.0 from 68.3, almost a 2.5 percent gain. The seventh-year player from Georgie Teach had added 2,868 Twitter followers as of Tuesday afternoon.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay's star quarterback, added 6,650 Twitter followers and improved to a 88.6 from a 88.5 on Klout with a three-touchdown performance in a 34-28 loss to San Francisco Sunday.

Running back Adrian Peterson, of Minnesota, added 5,424 followers on Twitter and 2,825 fans on Facebook after running for two TD's Sunday against Detroit. Peterson is the only player on our list with a public Facebook presence.

The Bears, ranked 19th as a defense by the NFL, added 7,815 fans on Facebook, and 5,674 followers on Twitter after a 24-21 win over Cincinnati. Chicago gave up 335 yards while recording two interceptions, and picking a fumble and recording a sack.

Outside of our selections, Michael Vick of Philadelphia is the top social media performer for the NFL with 4.1M fans/followers, including 2.3M on Facebook, and 1.9M on Twitter. 

Vernon Davis (TE, San Francisco) added 7,785 fans on Facebook today for a league-leading 2.05M, while Stevie Johnson (WR, Buffalo) added 3,669 followers on Twitter today for 765K total. Maybe Johnson's dropped pass against New England Sunday might be responsible for this bump (see GIF

The SMNNY Fantasy NFL Team -- the Social Medians -- is a weekly feature to track social media and the NFL.

CORRECTION -- After further review, Reggie Bush is the most popular social media player in the NFL. As of Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, he has 4,965,680 fans/followers -- 2,139,192 on Facebook and 2,826,488. 

 SMNNY Preseason NFL Social Media Fantasy Team

By Mo Krochmal

(Sept. 7, 2013) -- The NFL season opened Thursday night in Denver with the Peyton Manning-led Chargers walloping the defending champion Ravens, 49-27, in a turnaround of last year's playoff pairing.

Manning gave some of the estimated 25 million people who participate in fantasy leagues a gift-wrapped present by throwing for seven touchdowns and 462 yards.

On Sunday, the rest of the NFL teams take the field as the 17-week season opens a torrent of data.

We love sports, statistics and social media so we decided that we would pick an all-star fantasy team based on Klout, Twitter and Facebook activity, as well as scoring statistics. We also picked one team to be our defensive squad.

Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay is our pick for quarterback with receivers Eric Decker (Denver), Andre Johnson (Houston) and Calvin Johnson Jr. (Detroit), and running backs Adrian Peterson (Minnesota), Marshawn Lynch of Seattle and Stevan Ridley (New England). Jimmy Graham of New Orleans is the tight end and Blair Walsh is the kicker.

Our selection process was simple: We called up top players by position, and then used social media as one of our deciding factors. 

We will call this group the "Social Medians." They have an aggregate average Klout score of 79.8, and some 2.9 million followers on Twitter and another 3 million fans on Facebook. 

What we learned in setting this up: Kickers aren't really very social, and neither are tight ends. The Bears are impressive in social media. The superstar players don't leverage Facebook as they do Twitter. Rodgers doesn't have a Facebook presence, but has 1.04 million Twitter followers. The Bears have 2.7 million fans while Peterson has 984,000 fans on Facebook.

We look forward to following these guys through the season, tracking their social ups-and-downs against their scoring performance to see what we can learn.

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