Welcome to the new age of college athletic trades where top schools like Stanford and Syracuse swap Twitter handles for oranges.

Stanford recently created a new Twitter handle and decided to ditch their previous one, @SUAthletics. Immediately recognizing the opportunity, Syracuse recruited @SUAthletics as their own. In exchange, Syracuse will send Stanford an assortment of local goods, including oranges to refill their 2011 Orange Bowl Trophy.

This seems humorous and insignificant, but somehow also groundbreaking and historical. And it looks like the rest of the Twitterverse agrees.

After this dynamic exchange was announced, Tweeters everywhere were asking what this meant and why it happened. From sports gurus like George Schroeder and Brett McMurphy to the ultimate social company, Mashable, to the general public, people of all kinds were commenting on this new type of athletic trade.

As a response the the social buzz, Syracuse tweeted from their new account to verify the swap — just like an athlete stepping on the field in their school’s jersey for the first time. Well, kind of.

SU tweet

 

So, is this just a silly social media stunt or a genius branding move?

Personally, I have to go with genius branding move.

Why? For a few reasons:

Social Conversation = Social Reach

Both Syracuse and Stanford are generating conversation about themselves. Whether or not you think their social swap was pointless or brilliant, you’re reading this post and you’re thinking about the schools, right? Heck, they have me writing about them.

Millions are talking about them and even more are listening. With this large of a conversation, the schools are planting their names in the minds of future college students who haven’t considered either school — until now. Or maybe they’re reconnecting to alumni. Or the mention of these schools could encourage potential donors. The possibilities of how far this conversation could reach and influence are endless.

Positive Publicity

People say negative publicity is better than no publicity, but what about positive publicity? Not only are Stanford and Syracuse putting their names in the minds of millions, they’re doing it in a positive light. Because their athletic Twitter trade is humorous and ironic for many reasons, they are showing peers, fans, students, alumni, donors and future applicants alike that they have a sense of humor.

Yes, they’re both good schools with impressive academics and competitive athletics, but they also know how to let their hair down and have a good laugh. This is appealing to people of all kinds and, again, could influence future students and donors to choose their schools over others.

Ahead of the [Social] Game

It is crucial to stay active in today’s rapidly advancing social world because if you’re not participating in a social conversation, you’re not participating in any conversation. Syracuse and Stanford are not only showing people they are up to date with social media, they are proving to be the ones pushing the social envelope.

Although it may seem trivial, this Twitter handle trade was the first of it’s kind. Syracuse and Stanford are making a mark in social history, and their innovative thinking is yet another way they will undoubtedly draw interest.

This lighthearted exchange was a creative way to generate awareness, enhance their brands and expand the ever-evolving functions and boundaries of social media. My hat goes off to you, Syracuse and Stanford. The innovation of this new kind of social-athletic trading begs the question: What will come next and who will think of it?

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AuthorPiper Donnelly is our Summer Editor, Word-Smith and Communications Connoisseur here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.

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