We're all relatively aware of the perks and connectivity of social media in a world of constant change. We can catch up with old neighbors, show our alma mater a little love and even share our opinions of who might be the next tournament champion?!
As March Madness fills every major media outlet with headlines, I feel for the sports fanatics that have the pleasure (or pain) of reading the good, bad and the downright ridiculous opinions of college basketball "fans" on every social media news feed. I use air quotes because I'm guessing Sally Sue of some sorority has limited interest and knowledge of basketball - but perhaps tweeting about her bracket will catch that particular boys' attention.
Regardless, there are the true blue fans who live for this month of chaotic dribbling and free throws. I can't help but flash back to my early childhood days of being given the responsibility of being a rigid, unimaginably intense sports fan - more specifically aimed at the University of Kentucky's basketball team. My mother is a die hard fan who proudly paid her own way through the UK. The Wildcats won the Men’s NCAA Tournament her freshman spring semester of college and she’s been bleeding, breathing and dreaming blue ever since. She has recently seen the fun in updating her Facebook every time ESPN says something about her beloved alma mater.
As a Wildcat fanatic's daughter I naturally had to take on the role of being - at minimum - a supporter, at least throughout the month of March. I didn’t create a bracket this year, but I have found it incredibly convenient to keep myself up to speed by adding a few Twitter accounts to my following list. From sports analysts to former players there are plenty of people to keep everyone in the loop. Brad Friedman wrote a great article for Social Media Today about the apps and Twitter handles that can assist you throughout the madness.
March Madness has in recent years made a trend of an elaborate guessing game. No longer are the basketball predictions succumbed to old men and their guy’s night at your local Buffalo Wild Wings. Creating your own bracket has become all the rage and it seems like just about everyone is doing it (including Sally Sue).
Social media has not only made creating a bracket easily accessible, but sharing it with your friends and comparing Final Four picks is as simple as a click away. Apps such as Pocketbracket make getting involved with the Men’s Basketball Tournament even easier by allowing you to create a paperless bracket on your smartphone. ESPN created an app titled Bracket Bound 2013 that will not only give you news alerts and video highlights from the game, but it also allows you to check out behind the scenes info and a way to enter their bracket challenge game and complete multiple brackets (up to 10). If you’re just trying to fill out your own bracket or perhaps host a competition with friends/co-workers there are other apps such as the CapitalOne Bracket Challenge, the Coke Zero Bracket Challenge, and the CBS Bracket Challenge.
Sure there are probably still those pawning their prized possessions to bet the big bucks, but if you're more like me creating a bracket can simply be a friendly competition with friends. Last year my mom won a pretty penny with her bracket, majority with her Final Four choices and picking the Wildcats to win it all (big surprise there).
Unfortunately, my mom’s beloved Wildcats didn't quite have the same season they did last year and are already out of the picture - sorry mom. After losing to Robert Morris in the first round of the N.I.T. (that's the National Invitation Tournament for you newbies) Kentucky has shocked the world with their awfulness after winning it all last year in the NCAA Tournament. However, their home court will be the host for some of the 2nd round games that began last night (March 21). The Final Four will be played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga, April 6-8. A full list of hosts and dates for the tournament can be found here.
We've talked about Kentucky a fair amount here at Verge Pipe Media. Their social networking skills at the University have impressed us and here's hoping that with their young group of basketball players they'll have a shot (pun intended) at the tournament next year. Until then, wish me luck. I don't think my mom will be recovering from this loss any time soon. But for now, War Eagle?
In the mean time - since so many people are creating their own brackets - I'm interested.. If you’ve created one or are even simply following the tournament - who do you have in the final four? Comment below and let the VPM team know!
Author: Tricia Barton is a Spring Community Manager at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.