The Virtual Super bowl party – game time the social way!

Yesterday (or should I say last night) was an absolute first. Attending my first ever real American Super Bowl party and watching the game with a group of Americans and Australians. So did I fly over for a quick weekend break?!? Nop, I attended right from my own couch in my own living room.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when my twitter stream exploded on NFL tweets by @CuriousMitch  and me reacting to that

Before I knew it I was involved in a whole conversation stretching out over multiple days about the merits of American Football and culminating in getting myself invited for a Super Bowl party to be hosted by Mitch. He was having some guests over to his house and invited a bunch of others to join in through a Google hangout so that we could all enjoy it together from our respective living room (and time zone!).

Now I did have to think about it for a minute as I realized I would have to take a day off (game started at midnight Sunday night and was going to last at least 3 hours according to those who knew). But I was more then willing to do that, seeing it as a great social & cultural experiment to see if Social Media really could make this possible. Plus anyone that knows me knows I’m always in for something crazy and this one certainly fell into that category!
There was only one problem, I had absolutely no clue about American Football!….And so I was drilled and grilled over the last two weeks through Twitter and Skype by several people about everything NFL and American Football. Waking up to tweets like this

And even getting a visual demonstration with diagrams and lots of arrows through a LotusLive meeting & Skype.

All leading up to the big event: The game.

 A multi layered play in 4 acts played out on the field, in a Google Hangout, on Twitter and on Facebook.

I loved it! 

Not just because I like being part of big parties (which the Super Bowl certainly is) but also because it shows the power of Social Media and the cultural shift it is bringing about.Who would have thought 10 years ago that something like this would even be possible and that I would be able to enjoy a ‘cold one and a game’ from my living room in The Netherlands with people in Australia and the USA? Allowing me a very personal and up close glimpse into their worlds, living rooms and passion for American Football.

So what have I learned from all this? 

  • Taco’s & Chili in at least 5 variations seems to be the favorite US Super Bowl party food 
  • American Football can be fun and exciting once you get a basic grip of the game rules. Even if they drag out a one hour game to 4 hours easily 
  • Australia really is sunny this time of year (Yes, I know mentally that it’s summer over there right now but seeing it just makes it real) 
  • Getting a social crash course on game rules through Twitter, Skype and LotusLive works and is much more fun then learning the old fashioned way!
  • Google Hangouts actually lives up to what it says it does (really impressed after 5 hours of continuous and error-less ‘Hanging out’ with 6-8 others) 
  • I have friends here in NL that were watching the game as well (found out through Facebook halfway through the game). Setting up a date to do next year’s Super Bowl together 
  • I should never drink Redbull at 3:30AM if I want to have any chance of sleeping anytime soon (couldn’t fall asleep until 6:30)

So…. having a ‘virtual’ party like this doesn’t necessarily trump the real live experience and might, by some, be considered really geeky. But getting this group from 3 continents together otherwise would have simply been impossible. It just added a whole new layer to being social, showing how Social Media and online collaboration tools really do stimulate cultural learning and exchange. And in doing so making the world a smaller place.

Thanks guys for making this an experience to remember! 

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