The Best Away Game Ever (Fusing Football and Google+)

I'm a college senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As part of my "New Media Technologies and It's Impact on the Future" course (Crazy name, I know) my class has been assigned a final project to create an event on campus and then promote it to see which class section can garner the most media attention and coverage.

My class decided to link our event with the UNC/UVA football game coming this Thursday (11/15/2012) since we figured that sports are a big draw for people. Our event will be a large viewing party for the game since it is away for us. But viewing parties aren't a unique idea. We decided to spice up our promotion by incorporating a unique technology flavor. So we've linked up with the local Google ambassadors on campus. We're calling it: The Best Away Game Ever!

Together, we've been setting up Google+ Hangouts on Air with football players and sports figures around campus. We've just talked about the upcoming game and sports in general with them as promotion for the event. We've seen great response so far from the participants. Everyone has been amazed with how easy Google+ is to use, and how clean the Google+ Hangout interface is.

Coincidentally I had done a research project last year to gauge college students interest in Google+. The results were overwhelmingly lackluster. A lot of students had Google+ accounts, but they had been sitting idle since they had first joined. Most respondents didn't see a reason to use Google+ because no one else was using it, and they had no reason to switch off Facebook at the time. In all honesty, I was in a very similar boat.

But this project has exposed me to Google+ in a great way. By forcing myself to use Google+ I've seen how it can be used as a very powerful tool. The most obvious benefit is the fact that Google indexes Google+ content for its search results. We're a new event and presence on Google+ but within hours of posting our videos, we're topping Google search results for "Best Away Game." By doing Google+ Hangouts on Air, I've seen other students react in very positive ways to Google+. They have all voiced similar opinions that they didn't know how easy Google+ was (most students have a Gmail account already) and were very impressed with the capabilities of Hangouts.

Do I believe that Google+ will take over social media in the near future? Not likely. There's no reason for people to abandon Facebook at the moment. But I do see how Google+ could make some serious headway into the college scene.

I mostly wanted to share my experience with the Verge community, especially given how the Verge started as a fusion of sports (SB Nation) and technology coming together in a very powerful way. If you stop by our Google+ and give our project a look, we'd be glad to have you!