Jeff Pearlman talks social media at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference.
Jeff Pearlman talks social media at the 2018 APSE Summer Conference.

Jeff Pearlman is embarrassed by the amount of time he spends building his audience on Twitter.

“Dumbest thing ever,” he said during a session Monday at APSE’s summer conference in Nashville, “but its currency is undeniable.”

During the session, Pearlman, a former Sports Illustrated and ESPN writer-turned-best selling author, detailed the ways he has leveraged social media to, in his words, “survive.”

“I just want to do this as long as possible,” said the 46-year-old with nearly 60,000 followers on Twitter. “The bottom line is if you’re a young writer coming up or if you’re an editor, I just think creating your own brand is the most important thing.”

Engagement, Pearlman said, is crucial.

He cited Periscope — “It makes people feel like they’re having a face-to-face conversation,” he said — as one of many tools he uses on Twitter to connect with his audience.

And that blue checkmark next to his name on his Twitter account?

“The black American Express card of social media,” he said. “The weird thing is they think we’re celebrities in some weird way,” he said. “And if not celebrities, they think we’re in the know, and they just want to be heard.”

Even by a self-proclaimed nobody.

“You can literally see me walking up and down the street in my pajamas everyday,” Pearlman said. “I’m a nobody. But people want to be engaged.”

And they want personal, something Pearlman has embraced — just read either of his latest blog posts on The headlines: “My dad read my USFL book” and “Is it so wrong that I urinated into a Dunkin’ Donuts cup?”

“The crazy thing about my career,” Pearlman said, “is people often times are more interested in the time I was driving with Jesse Orosco and he ran over a cat, which did it happen, in his humvee, than what I think about Derek Jeter’s hall of fame chances.”