Nearly every week this season, my Mondays have started with finding an email with the subject line “Sorry, man” lurking in my in-box.
Those emails come from my buddy Austen Jorgensen. You might remember his interview where we chatted about his days as a BYU linebacker and he all but predicted Cougars’ shocking win over the Huskers. (Still can’t believe he called that one.)
These days Austen works for a company called Nuvi which is a high powered social media monitoring platform used by a wide range of companies to track how their brand, new product, or movie, for example, is performing in the “social space.”
If you think it’s time to bust out the tinfoil hat, don’t sweat it. This is not NSA level stuff we’re talking about here. Nobody cares about your militia having a bake sale this weekend. However, if you recently tweeted about how much you love a new TV show or are mad at Chipotle for that pesky E. coli outbreak, someone out there knows about it.
So this leads to this Monday’s email when Austen suggested that I check to see how the Huskers’ season is looking through the eyes of Nuvi. He might have just been trolling me in an attempt to get me to wallow in the slop of quantifiable misery but it was good idea either way so I pulled some data from Nuvi and here are some of the highlights.
Or should I say depressing lowlights?
To keep things simple and to keep this site from turning into the social media version of Baseball Prospectus we’ll be comparing week one to last week’s debacle at Purdue. (Note: Click any chart to view full-size.)
Things look good for Husker Nation leading up to the season opener against BYU. Positive (green) and negative (red) sentiment is calculated based on a series of keywords. Chatter that can’t be classified is considered neutral (blue). Based on what we’re looking at, Nuvi indicates optimism is high for the 2015 season.
Here’s a slightly broader look.
Then just a couple days later…
No, Global Thermonuclear War did not break out. This is what the it looks like when your team’s new head coach is sued for allegedly fostering an environment in which a sexual assault was allowed to happen. As you’ll see, the negative sentiment shot way up. Just as a gauge, you’d pretty much have to be the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department to run all the way in the red.
That giant red circle that wiped away most of the East Coast? That was a tweet from Sports Illustrated that came from their NYC headquarters. The bigger the circle, the bigger the reach and impact.
Then, here’s what happened when the wait was finally over and the Huskers got the season started against BYU. The image below covers about an hour and a half of chatter. See if you can pinpoint when the Hail Mary occurred.
And here’s a map of the post game reaction. The fire Mike Riley tweet from Lost Letterman was quite popular.
Below is a list of the day’s big winners as far as Twitter goes. Considering how many Husker fans hung on every moment of Gabrielle Union’s visit, it’s not a shock that her twitter account received nearly twice as much attention as Sports Illustrated. I do say that it warms the cockles of my little heart to see Tunnel Walk of Shame was the most viral.
Now, let’s skip ahead a couple months and five frustrating losses later to examine the current landscape for Husker Nation.
This is what it looked as the Huskers lost to Purdue. 55% negativity is this season’s all-time peak of despair. (So far.) Compared to the season opener, the reach of the chatter is over 10 times higher. Why? Because the big outlets had plenty of time to tweet throughout the game as the Boilermaker beat down reached its inevitable conclusion. Lucky for the Husker brand, not may people shared this news as the “spread” was more than 3 times lower than the jaw dropping ending to the BYU game.
Here’s the day as a whole.
Or dare I say national laughing stock?
Here’s hoping things turn around tomorrow and beating Michigan State makes Nebraska run green with joy.