Tag the Super Bowl on Twitter with #SB44

Ronny Kerr · January 25, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/d5f

NFL employing Twitter and Flickr to highlight fan experiences of the year's largest sporting event

After Twitter's growth to prominence in 2009 (coupled with Facebook's rise to even greater prominence), social media cemented itself as an integral part of our technologically-obsessed society and now no one, not even the NFL, will ignore its unmatchable ability to spread information and bring people together.

NFL.com has launched an official channel on its site dedicated solely to illuminating the shared experiences of people across the country and around the world leading up to and during this year's Super Bowl, scheduled for February 7:

Celebrate Super Bowl XLIV through the experiences of fans in South Florida and the rest of the world. Explore photos and tweets from fans tagged #SB44, the official tag of the Super Bowl. Want to be included in the experience? Make sure to include #SB44 in your Twitter posts and tag your photos on Flickr. Then come back often to see the excitement unfold!


The "Tag the Super Bowl" page on the NFL site is basically a montage of various tweets and photos taken from users who use the Super Bowl hashtag on either of those sites. Interestingly, the NFL admits that the content displayed on the site is "not edited, fact-checked or screened," so they're definitely risking the potential for some undesirable words and photos. Still, the fact that they are not censoring any of the content reinforces the idea that the montage is completely user-generated, maintaining the whole point of this thing we call social media.

By the time the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts hit the field in a couple weeks, we can almost guarantee that #SB44 will be a trending topic on Twitter.

Social media's rise in the past year is undeniable. Even while the NFL employs Twitter and Flickr to its own advantage, it's worth noting that a month ago Pepsi announced that, for the first time in 23 years, the cola corporation would not be running any Super Bowl ads for its popular soda. While PepsiCo, Inc. will still be running commercials for Doritos, a product of Frito-Lay (a PepsiCo operating division), the company has decided to trade in Super Bowl ads for a social media campaign to market its soft drink.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.