UT and A&M's Spirit and Traditions councils are battling it out for the most followers on Twitter by May 20.
Known as @TexasSTC (UT) and @TradCouncil (A&M) on Twitter, UT and A&M’s Spirit and Traditions councils are engaged in a social media rivalry. On May 20, the council who acquirers the least followers will change its Twitter avatar to a logo that supports the winning university for one week.
The competition between the two schools began when Matt Portillo, co-chair of the Texas Exes Spirit and Traditions Council (STC), visited Texas A&M and met with Chris Dismuke, the 2012-2013 chair of TAMU’s Traditions Council (TC).
“Rivalry aside, they have a great organization that does a great job of promoting TAMU's many traditions on their campus,” Portillo said. “Their model and their organizational structure seems to work very well, so I went to go check out the organization for myself.”
According to Portillo, UT’s council is undergoing a revitalization process that has prompted officers to investigate the best means of organization improvement.
“The coming year will be full of change for STC, and I think a look at TC provides us a good reference point as we consider the changes we're going to make,” Portillo said.
Portillo reached out to Dismuke on Twitter when he returned to Austin by tweeting to @TradCouncil, which Dismuke now administrates, that they have not tweeted in over three years. The council quickly resumed tweeting, but did not have many followers. This sparked the idea for a social media competition that would enable both school’s to promote their Twitter accounts. The boys decided that if @TexasSTC loses the two-week bet, the council’s Twitter will sport either a TAMU or an SEC logo, and if @TradCouncil loses they will host a Bevo avatar.
“Ultimately, we've found a fun way to capitalize on our schools' passionate-but-friendly rivalry in order to bring some big publicity to our organizations,” Portillo said. “Even though one of us is going to have an embarrassing avatar for a week, it's a win-win situation in the end. This Social War is helping us each get a lot of exposure.”
To spread the word of the competition, Dismuke suggested the use of #TXSocialWar for the bet’s hashtag. Portillo said that both councils agreed to not tolerate the use of “sexist, homophobic or racially-derogatory remarks.” Portillo credited Allyson Copeland, the 2012-2013 public relations director for STC, as the creator for the majority of the content for @TexasSTC.
“I just came up with some little puns and cute jokes involving them, I thought it would be nice to try and attract followers with something a little more enticing than just writing FOLLOW US,” Copeland said.
Copeland inspired tweets range from UT’s fight song to incorporation of well-known campus structures like the Barbara Jordan statue.
“You better help @TexasSTC win the #TXSocialWar by following them or Barbara Jordan is goin’ get sassy with you!”
Copeland said that while she is not an Aggie fan, she admires the spirit of the university’s students. Also, she pointed out that anyone can aid UT in its latest war against A&M, as her mother, an Alabama Crimson Tide Fan, is following @TexasSTC.
“Twitter is a phenomenal marketing tool for any organization,” Copeland said. “For the councils involved, they have the added benefit of being able to reach out to their students on a very relaxed medium.”
Though @TradCouncil is currently in the lead, Portillo said he is not worried because there is still one week left.
“The way I see it, @TradCouncil took an early lead by starting this marathon in a dead sprint,” Portillo said. “They'll fizzle out.”
Currently, UT's @TexasSTC has 375 followers while A&M's @TradCouncil has 950.