Razorbacks getting social on media guide

The Arkansas Razorbacks aren't running from anyone in 2013. They want everyone to know who and where they are.

It's been evident in the bravado new coach Bret Bielema has shown since his hire, and it became more obvious when this year's media displayed the Twitter handles of Bielema (@BretBielema), fullback Kiero Small (@KieroSmall36), center Travis Swanson (@TSwan64) and defensive end Chris Smith (@42Arkansas).

The idea was concocted by assistant athletic director for media relations Zack Higbee and assistant media relations director Derek Satterfield. The idea was to create more interaction between Arkansas' players and their fans and make players more personable. It will certainly bring a lot more attention to these guys, but Swanson said it's something he and his teammates embrace, especially with how much social media impacts people's lives.

"When I first heard that that's what they were going to do with the media guide, I thought it was a good idea," Swanson said. "It's a good way for the fans to stay connected to players and the program. I like it.

"It says a lot about our administration to put our Twitter names on there because that's a lot more responsibility put on us. It's always a good feeling to know that they trust us with this. I know there are going to be some changes in there as far as Twitter goes, but we're all ready for it."

Swanson, who currently has more than 3,700 followers said he gained around 100 more when Bielema first tweeted out the new media guide cover.

Speaking of Bielema and Twitter, he's certainly been no stranger to it and how it works. He's interacted with fans, in both a good and bad way, and recently sent out a tweet that resulted in a minor NCAA issue. His combative back-and-forth with Twitter users, particularly Wisconsin fans still bitter about his surprising departure, has made waves.

You'd think it'd be a distraction, but Swanson says he likes his coach's fire.

"I think Coach B handles himself just fine on Twitter," he said. "There's always going to be people out there who have it out to always try and get to someone. I feel like people tweet at him just to get a response from him. We don't worry about it. We know he knows what he's doing.

"He gives us the sense that he's not really going to take anything from anyone, and that's kind of the mentality and the attitude that he tells us to be like."

Swanson likes Arkansas' new fan-friendly cover, but he's not looking to be the next Johnny Manziel or Justin Bieber on Twitter. He's happy with maintaining some anonymity.

"I don't need the whole Twitter celebrity name," he said. "I think it's a good way for Arkansas fans to keep up with exactly what's going on because it's hard and people don't watch the news like they used to anymore. Social media is kind of the mainstream thing to go to now."