Twitter – Super Bowl, Librarians, Oreos – Oh My!

For this week’s post I was originally going to write only about Twitter.  But then last night, for the first time, I watched my Twitter feed while watching a major, live television event – The Super Bowl – and found it to be a very enlightening lesson in the power of social media.

So first an introduction to Twitter.  Twitter is a microblogging social network.   Basically, it is communicating in short form, or to be more specific, 140 characters or less.  Twitter is accessible via its website – – and also via mobile apps and SMS (Short Message Service).   Users can follow other users which means they are subscribing to receive their tweets.  Once you follow another user their tweets will show up in your feed as they are added.  Hashtags (pound sign #) used in front of a keyword or phrase will allow topics or conversations to be easily searched or followed, i.e. #libraryjobs, #edchat (education chat), #nerdybookclub.  The @ sign used before a user’s name will allow a message to be directed to another user or flag that user that their name was used in a tweet, i.e. @andersoncooper. 

In April 2009, Ashton Kutcher became the first user of Twitter to have more than 1,000,000 followers.  Do you remember hearing about that milestone?  I do.  Now the leading Tweeter is Justin Bieber with 33,952,441 followers as of this posting.  According to the top 10 twitter users with the most followers are: 1.) Justin Bieber, 2.) Lady Gaga, 3.) Katy Perry, 4.) Rihanna, 5.) Barack Obama, 6.) Britney Spears, 7.) Taylor Swift, 8.) YouTube, 9.) Shakira, and 10.) Kim Kardashian.   I do think the celebrity aspect of Twitter is what made some people, including myself, initially dismiss Twitter as just a narcissistic venue for babble and self-promotion; however now with over 200 million active users from all walks of life, I see it as a valuable forum for getting and sharing information and learning about new products (like books) and ideas (ways to teach information literacy).  It also has great value as a tool for promotion, customer outreach, and conversation which is why I think it is a great choice of social media for libraries. 

So last night while watching the Super Bowl I decided to access my Twitter feed to see what people were talking about – the commercials, the game, whatever.  I follow mostly random librarians and educators with a few celebrities, mostly comedians (Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Jimmy Fallon), authors (Raina Telgemeier, Sherman Alexie), and business gurus (Daniel Pink, Seth Godin) for good measure.  Anyway, I turned to my feed to see what people were talking about. 

So the chat starts off with comments about the game, but overall the tweets were about the commercials (Steve Martin – “I didn’t realize there would be commercials”; Judd Apatow – “In London they show no commercials.  How will I know what to buy?”) with librarians particularly interested in the Oreo commercial

(Teri Lesesne – “Librarians divided over Oreo commercial.  Stereotype? Or Super?” and Abby Johnson – “Okay, a commercial about destroying a library is not funny!!!!”)  

Some of the tweets were amusing, some were mundane, but they were entertaining nonetheless because as Sarah Beth Durst tweeted, “I do love watching TV and Twitter at the same time.  It’s like having a Superbowl party with friends except I don’t have to share snacks.”  And then… the lights went out.  Now there’s really something to tweet about.  But here’s where I saw the true power of Twitter.  First of all to begin with most of the chat was about the commercials not the game so right there advertisers are getting more bang for their buck.  But then Oreo did something that I thought was truly inspired – they created an immediate instant ad in response to the Super Bowl blackout and tweeted it. 

The tweet read:  Power out? No problem.

Now, I only follow 47 people and Oreo isn’t one of them (although it is THE BEST COOKIE EVER), yet I received this tweet and twitpic and it made a very positive impression on me. 

So, I’ve already got Oreos on my mind because of their televised commercial and all the twitter chat surrounding it that targeted an industry I’m interested in.  With their commercial, Oreo also utilized social media by urging viewers to vote for Cookie or Cream on Instagram.  Then this spur of the moment tweet shows up – it’s timely, it’s clever, and it’s really cool that they could turn it around so fast.  This tells me that the people behind Oreos are quick thinking, organized, creative, hip, smart and want to engage me. This experience just drove home the power of social media when done right. 


10 thoughts on “Twitter – Super Bowl, Librarians, Oreos – Oh My!

  1. Lori

    And, in today’s newspaper (here in rural Maine) the AP photo of the Oreo ad – partial darkness with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark” was brilliant! Clearly, as quoted in the full article: “to do what Oreo did actually takes a lot of pre-planning.” So while it seems a spur of the moment, perfectly timed response to a unique situation – we can clearly see that it requires both a rapid PR response and a bit of creative foresight. Also quoted, and less successful than the 15,000 re-tweets of the Oreo photo, Tide followed with “we can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out” that spun about 1,300 times – and Calvin Klein with its “since the lights are still out…”

    Real-time marketing using this social media is “still in its infancy” according to eMarketer analyst, but in some ways it feels like the old guerrilla marketing of the 1980’s and 90’s to me simply re-spun using new tools and toys. The key is being prepared to respond immediately!

    I am not yet a Tweeter, but this summer I attend a few concerts and it was really fun to watch the Twitter feeds on the large screens before and between shows. A bit narcissistic for some, but it really lent a feel of community in a field full of strangers sharing a common bond of a particular musical group they love.

    Ortutay, B. (2013, February 5). Twitter grabs Super Bowl spotlight. Lewiston Sun Journal, pp. A8.

  2. kallierees Post author

    Hi Lori, Thanks for sharing the news from Maine.
    Here’s an article from Wired explaining how Oreo pulled it off. It turns out they had a 15 person social media team at the ready to respond to anything that might happen.
    As you mentioned it did require creative foresight and pre-planning, but it paid off – because the next day it was what everyone was talking about. People talking = people thinking about your brand = free advertising for your brand.
    This may be the new trend – brands having their social media teams standing by for live events, ready to jump in and become part of the conversation.
    Truly what was most impressive to me was that even though I only follow 47 people, I received the Oreo tweet. It just shows how connected we are now with social media.

  3. Lauren Peters

    I am very new to twitter but want to find out what its all about. I thought the Super Bowl would be the ideal time to catch the social media wave. So, I had my twitter account open to follow the game, but when I searched ‘super bowl’ I was assaulted by tweets from people with such monikers as F*K yeah. Uh, not my crowd. So, I should have found some interesting people to follow and then watch for their tweets? Or type in the commercial name? How do you find out who you want to follow?

    1. kallierees Post author

      Hi Lauren,
      I think the best thing to do is to start following people you like and/or admire. Or if you have a hobby that you enjoy start following prominent people in that field. For example I knit so I follow The Yarn Harlot a.k.a. Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee. I was reading a lot of librarian blogs (esp. children’s and YA) and realized these people were also on Twitter so started following them. Those led me to others and so on and so forth. You can also see who people you follow are following. I’ve definitely gotten some ideas from doing that. If I had approached it the way you did I don’t think it would have been my crowd either. Then you’re getting the general population and all the people who made Justin Bieber #1. Try my suggestions and let me know what you think. Flipping through your Twitter feed is a great way to pass time when you’re waiting for an appointment and you can learn so many interesting things.
      One problem I do have with Twitter is that you do learn so many interesting things, but it’s hard to keep track of them and find them again when you have more time. I guess one way to solve this problem is to retweet what you find interesting b/c then you can always find it on your feed. I hardly have any follwers (which is fine by me) so I guess it wouldn’t be too annoying.
      Good luck.

      1. Christy Confetti Higgins

        Also, in the professional space of libraries and information spaces, many of the types of content we manage for our users are on Twitter – either authors, subject matter experts, specific publications (ex. IEEE publications, Harvard Business Review), and of course our information partners and vendors which keeps us engaged with them and better informed about the services we are purchasing and hence services we provide our users – just a few examples to add to what’s been shared 🙂

  4. lslattengren

    Your post hits close to home for me. I’m addicted to twitter (it may be a problem…) and I have found events (especially televised) are times when twitter really shines. Like you mentioned in your post, it is like having a super bowl party but you can be alone (I was working on my e-portfolio while watching so was alone- sad). It’s so much fun, though to see everyone on your twitter feed tweeting about the same thing. I follow over 600 accounts so I saw a lot of action that night. One thing that I think is interesting as well is how quickly people come up with twitter account memes based on what is happening at the moment. Within minutes of the blackout at the game, there was a twitter account called “SuperdomeLights” that had 15,000 followers within minutes! Sometimes these “of-the-moment” meme accounts can be fun but this one wasn’t very good – I didn’t find their post to be very funny or interesting, so I unfollowed it soon after the game. I’ve seen similar things happen during other televised events – like the Academy Awards last year. As someone who is not a sports fan, Twitter is a way to get involved and have fun even if you don’t really care too much about the game.

  5. jaidenwilliams

    Wow! This post was SO WELL WRITTEN!!!! I loved how you began by explaining what Twitter actually is- and giving the background on its popularity. One thing I really liked was how you touched on the celebrity angle, which is the primary reason I do not choose to be involved in the Twitter revolution. But I must admit, this post has inspired me to create and use a twitter account.

  6. bibliolge

    I made a promise to myself after my last class (which was amazing, by the way, The Hyperlinked Library with Michael Stephens) to tweet more. Yet, I log in and I come empty. I don’t feel clever, I think that is my main problem with tweeter. I’m not a celebrity. I have 140 characters or less. What can I say?

  7. Christy Confetti Higgins

    Hi Kallie – Very well written and fun post – thanks for sharing your Super Bowl experience with Twitter. It sounds like you’ve figured out for you how to leverage Twitter to get the most out of it which is great. It does take time to find that balance.

    Again – great job!



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