Friday, February 1, 2013

Teaching The Super Bowl: Social Media Literacy

The Super Bowl is the media event of the year. The avalanche of interviews and marketing, therefore, makes this football game the year's most important media literacy opportunity. Marquee corporations roll out big bucks to parade alluring ads on TV. High-profile teams brand their players to create celebrities out of athletes. The logos of NFL franchises are splayed across innumerable billboards, banners, and bulletins.

Television viewers, and especially children, need to be schooled in the sophistication of this marketing barrage. They need to understand the wit and complexity of the multi-sensory campaign. In 2013, more than ever, the key persuasive platform for communication and persuasion will be social media.

During last year's contest, viewers sent 13.4 million tweets in commenting on the game. Of those, 1.2 million focused solely on the commercials. At the peak, 12,233 tweets per second crisscrossed hyperspace. This season's social media interplay is expected to dwarf last year's figures. If the record number of tweets during the London Summer Olympics and November's presidential election were any indications, this Super Bowl may notch a modern gold standard in social media expression.

Source: FastCoDesign and Elefint Designs (click for detail)
If 111,300,000 global television viewers watched the game in 2012, this year's tally will surely be augmented by the estimated 40% of people who use a smartphone or handheld tablet device while watching television. A social TV analysis of last year's Super Bowl XLVI by bluefin labs offered eye-catching, geographic visuals of how Twitter informed the viewing experience. An updated version of the video is already being prepped for 2013's February showdown. You can pre-order your XLVII edition online.

Source: Sysomos (click for detail)
The San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens have been feted as championship-contending teams in many visual forms. A data-rich infographic from Elefint Designs, featured on FastCoDesign, offers a trustworthy, week-to-week summary of the two teams' yardage, points, and wins. This analytical study, entitled "The Road To The Harbowl," hints at the dips and momentums that figure prominently in the Vegas betting prognostications.

Another infographic from Sysomos presents "The Social Media Guide To Super Bowl XLVII." This detailed presentation lays out the degree of fan support, as well as the winners of social media opinion. A separate visual, entitled "The Road To Super Bowl XLVII," examines how the teams match up competitively.

For teaching students about the impact of communication and messaging, one of the best resources comes from Frank W. Baker in his feature on "Using Super Bowl Ads In The Classroom." A guru of media literacy education, Baker offers excellent lesson plans, news articles, and streaming video clips to encourage healthy skepticism when viewing TV ads. He presents key questions to consider in analyzing the impact of Super Bowl commercials. We've admired Baker's work before in teaching young learners about the broad realm of media marketing.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out. I do appreciate it.
    Frank Baker,Media Literacy Clearinghouse

  2. Great post and creative ideas. I am happy to visit and read useful articles here. I hope you continue to do the sharing through the post to the reader. and good luck for the visitors site thanx alot

  3. I really think it will be a sad day when we move on from courtesy and helping each other along the way. But Super Bowl Live is something you shouldn't miss.

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