New England Patriots wide receiver and Twitter aficionado Julian Edelman visited an Emerson social media and marketing class on October 24 after students launched a Twitter campaign aimed to catch his attention.
Sure enough, Edelman saw the mass tweets and came into the class with bags full of hamburgers. “Burger time, anyone?” he said, quoting the hashtag he popularized.
Edelman spent about an hour answering questions from students about his perspective as a professional athlete using Twitter.
For Edelman, social media is a way to show his personal side and connect with supporters.
“The success I had was from just being completely authentic with it, going out and asking questions of what I was really thinking at the time,” he said. “Not saying, ‘Oh yeah, Puma’s having a sale; I’m with Puma, come buy a 20 percent off thing.’”
Edelman is not endorsed by Puma. He personally posts all of his own tweets and replies to messages as much as he can.
“When you reply to someone, it’s crazy,” he said. “All you need to do is show that you care and people love to support that.”
Maria Vivas ’15, a student in the class, was at work managing social media for a real estate company when she saw that Edelman responded to her tweet.
“I just saw it and my jaw dropped,” she said. “All I wanted to do was be with my classmates and say, ‘Oh my God, guys; we did it!’”
The class instructor, part–time faculty member David Gerzof Richard, of the Marketing Communication Department, said it is unusual for a celebrity to respond so quickly because of the amount of noise on their Twitter feeds.
To stand out, the students had to be creative. “They did their research dead on,” he said. “They realized that [Edelman] tends to spend his time on Twitter during Bruins games. So that’s when they decided to execute their campaign and it worked very quickly.”
Edelman is not the first Patriots player to visit the class. In the past, students convinced Rob Gronkowski and Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) to drop by.
With Edelman’s visit, the class has now completed half of the semester’s assignment. The students’ campaign, called #brainsVSbrawn, also involves trying to score a Skype session with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.