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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Social media in spotlight on NFL draft night

By Bill Speros
Special to ESPN.com

It’s been a busy week on social media for many of the projected top picks in tonight’s NFL draft (@NFL_Draft on Twitter).

Alabama’s D.J. Fluker claimed his Twitter account was hacked after it posed this message early Wednesday: "Yea I took $ n college so wat. I did wat i had to do. Agents was tryin to pimp me so I pimped them. Cast da first stone" in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The post, which caught the eye of Alabama’s compliance office, was quickly deleted, and Fluker’s agent said he knew the culprit.

There have been several notable Twitter hacks in just the past week. The accounts of CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours” were hacked over the weekend. The Associated Press’ Twitter feed was breached Tuesday, and its false post that the White House was under attack triggered a 1 percent drop in the stock market in the minute or so before it was rebutted.

There appears to be no decline in Fluker’s draft stock, as he was No. 16 on the Scout, Inc., top 32 list as of this morning.

West Virginia’s Geno Smith, expected to be the first or second QB taken, wanted to send a message to the doubters before he headed to New York:

Just want to thank all those so called "experts" who say I can't be an NFL QB. Thursday will be a special day but the work has only begun

— Eugene Geno Smith (@GenoSmith_12) April 23, 2013
Speaking of draft stock, a Texas A&M offensive tackle was doing some research of his own on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.

How would you #CaptionThis photo of #NFL Draft potential #1 overall pick Luke Joeckel? The best will be read on air! twitter.com/NFL_AM/status/…

— NFL AM (@NFL_AM) April 25, 2013


One place you won’t find Joeckel, who sits either in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot on nearly every draft projection, is on Twitter.

Joeckel doesn’t tweet, or at least wasn’t tweeting as of 10 a.m. ET Thursday. There was an @LukeJoeckel Twitter account not affiliated with the Aggie, but it has been suspended.

Speaking to Playbook about his thoughts on social media before winning the Outland Trophy in December, Joeckel said he uses Facebook for family and personal reasons but avoids Twitter altogether.

The Twitter presence of Texas A&M QB and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was an intimating factor. "Johnny's amazing on that," Joeckel said. "I don't even want to tweet. I'd probably have 1 percent of the followers he has, and it wouldn't be that cool."

That should not be a problem after Thursday.

Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher (@Big_Fish79), who could also be the No. 1 pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, told Playbook that expectations of the draft are finally feeling like reality.

“I try not to let nerves get to me. It’s been kind of been a surreal experience,” Fisher said. This week is his first time in New York. “Everything is new to me. All these skyscrapers, it’s amazing.”

Not to mention closing the trading day on the NYSE, along with a few fellow would-be draftees.

What an honor to press the button to close the stock market!!! #OnceInALifetime

— Eric Fisher (@Big_Fish79) April 24, 2013


Fisher isn’t the only one in his camp sharing the excitement of both visiting New York and reaching the NFL, all in the same trip. “When he was in college, we always used the word 'if' and finally I can use the word 'when' you go to the NFL,” said his mother, Heidi Langegger. “I’ve never been up to the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building or garment district.”

Fisher will be taking the stage at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday in a “nice suit" but walking off with “some new colors.” Which fits perfectly into Tide’s #AboutOurColors campaign, of which Fisher is a participant. “All 32 teams have a representative of their colors. It’s a really cool thing.”

Tide will offer an endorsement deal to the first player drafted by each team in celebration of their new colors. The rookies will ask fans to share what team colors mean to them, tweeting with #AboutOurColors.

Sam Decker (@samdecker), founder and CEO of the social media management firm Mass Relevance, sees plenty of benefits for someone like Joeckel to become an active participant in the Twitterverse. Among them are the ability to develop both a personal business brand -- a natural since Joeckel was a business major at Texas A&M -- and a personal connection with fans.

“That used to be confined to fleeting seconds while grabbing an autograph or [a] chance encounter," Decker said. "Nobody craves interaction more than a sports fan ... [Joeckel] has a great opportunity to start interacting with those who will provide a huge amount of support on and off the field.”

Several prospects also were buzzing on Facebook this week. The top five most mentioned draft picks, according to Facebook Data, were: West Virginia’s Smith and wide receiver Tavon Austin, Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Fisher was No. 6 in Facebook buzz, followed by Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack and Joeckel.

Austin had more than twice as much as much buzz as the rest of the list, mainly because of the uncertainty about where he’ll end up playing. Austin’s speed and unusually small size have been the topic of much of his buzz, Facebook said. The word “draft” has been big, as has the word “trade.”

Several NFL prospects and teams will also be active on Instagram on Thursday. Instagram users can follow the visual action by using the #nfldraft2013 and #nfldraft hashtags. Among the teams worth an Instagram follow will be the Kansas City Chiefs -- @kcchiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars -- @jaguars, Oakland Raiders -- @raiders, Philadelphia Eagles -- @philadelphiaeagles and Detroit Lions -- @detroitlionsnfl.

Jordan (@dionj96), Warmack (@warmackin), Sharrif Floyd of Florida (@humble_hungry_73) and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert (@eiferty80) are also expected to be posting via Instagram.

Elsewhere:

• The aftereffects of the Boston Marathon bombings continue to leave their imprint on social media.



“Shoulder 2 Shoulder” is offering some unique inspiration to the amputees from the attacks, with assistance from several amputees who are Wounded Warriors. Its “We Stand With You” video was posted YouTube last Wednesday. “Given the 17 amputees [to date] from the event, we thought that it would be valuable to provide direct amputee-to-amputee perspective on dealing with initial fears, recovery strategies, and clear visceral proof that amputations do not preclude people from leading rich, full and exciting lives,” S2S posted on its Your Tube page.

"We will finish the race" -- cover art for @bostonmagazine's May issue is a heart made from marathon shoes: twitter.com/WesleyLowery/s…

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) April 25, 2013


• Boston Magazine paid tribute to Boston Marathon runners and victims with the cover of its May issue, which was published Thursday. The cover is made up of shoes from Boston Marathon participants and reads “We Will Finish The Race.”

Bill Speros is an ESPN.com contributor. He can be reached on Twitter @billsperos or via email at bsperos1@gmail.com.