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March Madness: Navigating Social Media


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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: March Madness.

After filling out brackets, endlessly studying teams, and pledging their allegiance to their alma maters, employees all around the country are going to spend the next several weeks with their eyes glued to their iPhones, TVs, and computers. All in the name of some great March basketball.

March Madness is big enough of a “problem” that this year, more than any previous March Madnesses, managers are struggling to figure out how to manage employees while also letting some basketball watching slide. And in the thick of a movement from big cable providers to make March Madness accessible anywhere and any time, that’s becoming more and more difficult.

While we don’t have a solution for managers hoping to keep productivity and morale high through March Madness, we do know a thing or two about social media, an increasingly important part of the national March Madness experience.

If you’re looking to make the most of March Madness by being active on social media, here are a few things you ought to know:

  • If you want to track team stories, try Banjo. Unlike many other search tools that are fragmented and do a bad job of painting the whole picture, Banjo, which some call “TiVo for social media,” helps track big trends in a format that doesn’t mess with the story stream that social media presents in real-time. Banjo is most useful, and is actually configured for, individual events after the fact. See the stream of the Providence Friars vs. the Creighton Bluejays for a great example of what Banjo is most useful for.
  • For tracking individual keywords, use Topsy. Looking to track individual keywords?Topsy is one of the best tools for doing so. You can break searches down by time (1 day, 1 week, 1 hour, etc.) and category (photos, videos, text, etc.), and Topsy also allows you to sort searches by date, relevance, and more. Once again, a search of Creighton turned up great results that are much more sortable than a normal Twitter search. A great tool for tracking keywords in real-time, rather than post-event like Banjo.
  • Unless a firehose of information is what you’re looking for, avoid tracking hashtags or trending topics. And finally, in most cases, I actually recommend staying away from hashtags and trending topics. They’re great for big snapshots (what’s the entire world saying about that recent upset?), but not the best for granular analysis of events, which I find more useful for something like March Madness. While great for the big picture, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere for tracking March Madness on social media.

For basketball fans, March Madness really is the best time of the year–and social media is a great way to augment your basketball tracking experience. Even so, it’s very easy to get lost in the firehose of information that social media presents. You can counter that with search tools like the ones we mentioned above, and we absolutely recommend doing so if you want to be a part of the great experience that social media offers.

March Madness may very well be a manager’s worst nightmare during springtime (and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m among the rest of the employees who find themselves distracted this time of year). But whether you’re watching the game live on your phone, or looking for a way to track scores and updates without watching live, social media is a great supplement to this great March experience.

Is March Madness a distraction? Sure–but it’s probably the best distraction there is. And I know for sure that over the next few weeks, if you’re looking for me, you can probably find me posted up next to the nearest screen playing today’s big game.

Image credit: CC by Phil Romans 

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About the author: John Darwin

John is a recent college graduate from Creighton University. He earned his B.A. in English, specializing in British Literature, and is currently working as an editor at Social Media Contractors.

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