Great Social Media Idea - Troll Level: Aggie

As a native of Portland - a city with no NFL team but an unfortunate proximity to Seattle - I've been forced throughout my lifetime to hear about the Seahawks. My distaste for the team originates in suffering through countless years of what seemed like an endless loop of Seahawks-Bengals games while the rest of the country enjoyed what I'm sure were amazing Dolphins-Bills or Steelers-Broncos games. The Seahawks were not good, yet I couldn't get them off my TV. It was a sad state of affairs.

You'd think I would have developed some sort of masochistic Chicago Cubs-style "lovable loser" mentality toward the Seahwaks, but no... I just wanted them to go away. Far, far away. I don't necessarily hate them, but I have too much tortured history to come anywhere near to rooting for them. They've done me wrong. I can forgive, but I can never forget.

Which is why - on a day of true celebration for the Seahawks, what with them winning the NFC championship game and all - I absolutely, positively adored this post from Texas A&M.

They also made some headlines with their Twitter postings yesterday.

Don't get it? Well, it's a wonderfully subtle little bit of trolling that requires a bit of explanation.

Seattle's fans LOVE telling you about how great they are. (Believe me, I know... Portland is lousy with them, and don't even get me started on all my college friends from Seattle.) They call themselves the "12th Man" and raise a #12 flag before every game and they are very much self-satisfied with how noisy they are. Really, it's a harmless - and, no denying it, effective - fan tradition.

The problem? Texas A&M has been callings its fans the "12th Man" since 1922. They have a long and storied tradition with the phrase, and Seattle basically just stole it from them. Things came to a head in 2006, when the Seahwaks agreed to pay Texas A&M a lump sum as well as $5000 every year into perpetuity - chump change for the Seahawks, but a wonderful little nuisance that Aggies worldwide can bring up any time a Seattle fan gets a little too big for its britches about the 12th Man thing.

So what does Texas A&M do yesterday, when their hemi-demi-semi- rivals in the NFL? Well. they changed their Facebook cover photo to a crowd shot from their football stadium, with "Home of the 12th Man" front and center. Their fans responded in droves, and it serves as a great reminder (I wrote about this the other day) that it's OK to be a bit salty and irreverent on social media sometimes. People love it, and as long as it's in-bounds - which this clearly is - it's a great way to show that you're brand/institution isn't just a bland, toothless, robot on social media. It's OK to have some personality. And play favorites. Really... it is! Especially when working in higher ed social media.

Excellent trolling, Texas A&M! Hats off, and yes... #GigEm.

Campus Crisis Communication

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