How Social Media is Changing Your Super Bowl Experience

The big game is this weekend and if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably going to a party to watch it. And if you’re somewhat digitally saavy like me, you’ll probably watch it with a phone in your hand. Because there’s another party going on during the game and it’s happening across social media.

You see, 2011 in many ways, marked the advent of “social TV”. Lots of cool little apps like GetGlue and big sites like Twitter emerged as spaces to collectively watch and comment on live TV. And what we’re about to experience this Sunday is going to blow it all away. So, what are we in for? Here are a few of my guesses:

Hashtag Mania

First, you will see Twitter hashtags on just about every commercial and the game itself (#sb46). Audi broke the hashtag seal at last year’s game. And then they just became pervasive across TV shows like American Idol and The Voice. Brands love it because you can begin to justify that $3.5M 30 second ad spot (“Hey, we got 200,000 new followers from our rapping Granny commercial!”). Consumers now expect the hashtag and know how to act accordingly.

Which leads to my next prediction that…

One brand’s commercial will get completely skewered across social media and have that CMO reaching for the TUMS and asking themselves – why did we pick that agency and why did we green light the “edgy” concept?! Bad commercials happen every year, but with social media the mistakes become MUCH more magnified, especially if encouraging your viewers to discuss. And Twitter, in case you haven’t heard, can be quite cynical about hashtags 🙂

A New Twitter Record

I’m also guessing there will also be one moment that breaks the tweets per second record and it will probably happen at halftime. Why halftime? Well, unless there’s another Helmet Catch ending to this game (sorry Pats fans), most people will be actively tweeting about how great or how awful the halftime show is. This year it’s Madonna. Yes, she is 53 years old. Yes, it is in Indiana. But never doubt the Material Girl, something completely bizaare will happen. I have faith in you Madonna. You can do it!

Real-Time Facebook Feedback

Finally, the “best” commercial won’t be crowned the next day by Good Morning America or Neilsen or USA Today…it’ll be done in your very own Facebook news feed and you will know it in real time from a very quick eyeball test. Take me for instance. I’m married, in my mid-30s and have 3 kids ages 4 and under. Most of my FB friends are in very similar demographics. Last year, after the Darth Vader kid commercial, you would have thought Volkswagen themselves hacked into my Facebook account from all the glowing comments posted from young moms and dads like me!   Heck, us Gen-Xers might have already seen this year’s best commercial, featuring Ferris Bueller and already leaked online by Honda this week. (Full disclosure – we named our first daughter Sloane in honor of Ferris’s girlfriend. I’m biased, you guys.)  So whether you’re 15 or 55, your Facebook friends will let you know immediately which ad was the most effective for you.

The Bottom Line

Is all this good? Being heads down while the game’s on? Some of my favorite memories have come from Super Bowl parties communing and celebrating with neighbors, families and friends. And now that community gets extended quite a bit through the device in your hand.

A wise old man once said  – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So enjoy the game, enjoy all the craziness that social media will bring to this game, but don’t forget to look around the room and connect with the ones you’re with.

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The Level 3 Editor manages content for Level 3's Beyond Bandwidth blog.

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  1. Pingback: Super Streams for Super Bowl XLVI | Techno Magazine | Daily Technology News Magazine

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