Pat Kindig ’00, director of digital broadcast operations and social media marketing for The Ohio State University Department of Athletics, knows precisely how many Facebook users recently responded to Brutus Buckeye’s exuberant plea for affection. Ohio State’s mascot, a wide-eyed Buckeye wearing a scarlet and gray striped t-shirt and baseball cap, points to Facebook users over the headline, “Brutus wants YOU!” One million fans responded that they “liked” Facebook.com/Buckeyes (which allows them to automatically receive news updates). Kindig, who administers social media for the department, promptly noted that Ohio State now holds the country’s collegiate record for the number of Facebook fans. But while the school’s social media goal is to keep fans connected with fun activities and upbeat messages, it is also to keep them informed of Buckeye news, both good and bad. And Kindig concedes that this past year, it was just as well that fans couldn’t hit a “dislike” button.
Ohio State’s football program has been on a media rollercoaster the past 10 months, during an NCAA investigation that resulted in the resignation of head coach Jim Tressel. As the university issued statements, Kindig made sure fans had links to updates at their fingertips. “We always look to highlight the positive, but we want our fans to be the first to know the news, good or bad,” he says.
Kindig also coordinates online streaming and media packages for 20 different sports on OhioStateBuckeyes.com and oversees student interns who announce, film, and produce coverage of school sports events. Shows air live on the Big Ten Network’s Web site (BTN.com) and are rebroadcast on the cable network on a tape-delay basis. In only its third year, the programs supply a significant portion of midday and primetime slots, says Kindig. “It’s exciting to see the students grow, as they get real-life experience.”
Kindig, a communications major who played defensive back for the Scots, began his career in sports journalism at the College, working as an intern for sports information director, Hugh Howard and director of public information, John Finn. In his 10th year at OSU, Kindig spent the first half of his tenure as a media relations contact in the athletics communications department and the last five in his current position. Facebook fan responses come from all over the world, says Kindig, including from alumni who are serving in the military in Germany and the Middle East. “I’m constantly amazed at our fans’ responsiveness. If you ask a Buckeye fan to help you with something, you know it’s going to happen.” This profile appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Wooster magazine.
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