CadChica’s SSM Digest: March 2013

March.

Madness.

When it comes to sports, you cannot have the month of March without Madness.

The month of March had no shortage of intriguing sports/social media stories and all around fascinating sports news. Just today, a Twitter surprise occurred when legendary NBA coach, Phil Jackson, joined Twitter. 

That’s right. Former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Phil Jackson, hopped on the Twitter bandwagon. Within just a few hours, Jackson has over 30k followers. At last check, Kobe Bryant was not one of them. Not news. Kobe’s probably busy with practice or thinking up another Mamba-ism. Or…he’s waiting for Phil’s first tweet.

My guess is that it will be a Zen quote. 

UPDATE: So much for that Zen quote:

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Jackson joins Twitter just as one athlete “leaves” Twitter. 

Texas A&M’s Heisman-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, told ESPN that he was “taking a break from Twitter. Manziel garnered plenty of attention in his run-up to the Heisman. Aided by a no media interviews policy during the regular season, there was a mystery to him that people found intriguing. His off-field exploits piqued people’s interest in Manziel. So much so that he has over 330k followers. There’s interest in Manziel alright. That interest has become a bit too dramatic for Manziel prompting him to need a break. 

But how long will that last? Will he stop taking pictures with people? Those pictures made as much news as anything he actually tweeted. Seeing how long the break lasts will be interesting to watch the rest of this off-season. Of course, if he really wanted to take a break, he could follow Manti Te’o’s lead from February. Te’o deleted his account last month during the Super Bowl. 

Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that and Manziel receives more media/social media instruction during his “break”. 

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Top Moments In March SSM:

  • Perhaps one of the biggest sports/social media moments of March took place on the 10th. It was the day when Brandon Knight was “De-Knighted“. The posterization of Knight by DeAndre Jordan went viral on the night of March 10th. Brandon Knight was trending worldwide and continued to be the talk the next day. Any and all future posterizations will inevitably be compared to that night. I wrote about it here.
  • March 11: The Jordan/Knight dunk moment was a continuing trend on this day. But, it was joined in the days’ conversation by NFL trades (Seahawks traded for Percy Harvin, 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin), Deadspin & Gawker following the Bleacher Report’s lead by adding “contributor” networks, and (from my neck of the woods) the group looking to bring the NBA to Seattle announcing a ‘priority ticket‘ waitlist. From basketball to football to sports media back to basketball news. Quite the busy day on the 11th. 
  • March 13th: The 11th was no match for the 13th. For that was the day that “white smoke” became a trending topic worldwide. The election of a new pope, signaled by the “white smoke” emanating from the chimney of the “papal conclave” (another trending topic), was news that spanned all categories, including sports. 

Leo Messi comment on the pope

  • One value that social media has for athletes, is the ability to control the message. Tiger Woods did exactly that when it came to his personal life, using Twitter and Facebook: 

Tiger announced to the world that the already rumored relationship with Lindsay Vonn was, in fact, real: 

Tiger and Lindasy

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  • Continuing in the controlling the message vein, the New England Patriots’ Vince Wilfork took to Twitter to take care of a fellow NFL’er who he, shall we say, had a ‘disagreement’ with (tweets are unedited):

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  • Major League Baseball is becoming a ‘major player’ in the sports/social media business. Some may say they already were but it seemed that various teams in baseball excelled in creating engaging outlets for several years now with their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts better than others (e.g. San Francisco Giants). But the MLB, in conjunction with their teams, has created a well thought out Twitter hashtag campaign leading up to the 2013 opener. 

The hashtag is #RandomActsOfOpeningDay. What I love about this campaign is that it meets fans right where they are. Fans tweet their wishes to teams and teams have come through with some memorable and exciting prizes for baseball fans: 

I’m a big believer in teams trying to think of contests from a fan’s perspective. But maybe not everyone in baseball got the message:

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  • I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the event known as “March Madness”. Many think of madness as simply the NCAA tournament. But it is so much more than that. Teams vying for conference titles down the stretch of the regular season generated some great games like the Michigan-Indiana game on March 10th. Or perhaps it was the surprising #1 ranking for Gonzaga.

 Instead, let’s look at what madness has wrought in the Syracuse men’s basketball program. On March 9th, legendary Cuse coach,    Jim Boeheim, made a “ready to golf” comment following a loss to Georgetown. As if a blowout to a rival wasn’t enough, on the 20th came word of an investigation into the Syracuse program.

 Speculation ensued, the Big East tournament came along and then the NCAA tournament. Syracuse won their first game and a golf-comment follow-up was made on the 22nd. 

Syracuse didn’t fold and fade away, despite the controversy. They won their next game too and will be playing in the Sweet 16 tomorrow night. It’s said that sometimes adversity brings teams closer together. Maybe that’s the case with Syracuse. Maybe the players aren’t ready to let Boeheim go golfing  or let an investigation get in the way of their season. Yet. A date with #1 seed Indiana is on the immediate horizon. 

The Cuse don’t have the market cornered on intriguing teams in the tournament, however. America was introduced to a true Cinderella in Florida Gulf Coast University (#FGCU). The #15 seed from Fort Myers, Florida, captured the world’s attention with an upset of #2 seed Georgetown and #7 seed San Diego State as well as their style of play “Dunk City“. Think I’m exaggerating? 

They have become a national name in one week’s time. To some extent, it’s proven to be a challenge of mammoth proportions:

Whether they continue on past the Sweet 16 remains to be seen. America, the world, loves an underdog. By making it into the Sweet 16,  FGCU has brought attention to their school that wasn’t even around 20 years ago. They’ve played loose. They’ve played with almost reckless abandon. And they’ve played with an “I don’t care what the score is, I’m still going to dunk on you” attitude. An attitude that has rubbed people the wrong way: 

Like it or not, they’re having fun. When fans see players having fun, most will embrace it whole-heartedly. What’s not to like after this tweet – here’s looking at you, Johnny Manziel 

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CadChica Sports

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