web development for search engine optimization

How Twitter Filled-Out my Basketball Brackets

Last year I used Google to fill out my basketball brackets. It didn’t do too well. This year I decided to use Twitter to fill out my March Madness brackets.
Disclosure: although I am just getting to this post now, I did the research on Monday- honest.

As a proud Jayhawk, I was glad to see Twitter pick Kansas to win the entire tournament. In fact, it predicted that all the #1 seeds would make it to the Final Four.

In addition to the Final Four, Twitter also chose these teams to be part of the Elite Eight:

  • Ohio State
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Notre Dame

It also predicted eight upsets in the first round:

  • Houston
  • Ohio
  • Florida State
  • Minnesota
  • Oakland
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Missouri

You can fill in the rest by deduction.

How can I quantify these results?
In order to compare teams, to see which would win, I’d need a way to quantify the teams. Last year I used GoogleFight to judge the winners. This basically figures out how many pages have been indexed for a particular term and declares the term with the most pages indexed to be the winner. In quantifying this I couldn’t just use the name of the university- that would favor teams named after states- so I had to lengthen the keyword string by adding “basketball” to the search string (as I did last year). By this method, Washington would win (just like it predicted last year).

Because Google didn’t predict the winner very accurately, I wanted to use Twitter to fill out my brackets this year. How could I quantify Twitter?

At first I though I would use Google site search to search Twitter for mentions of the teams. This involves adding “site:twitter.com” to a Google query string, plus the keyword, to give me the number of times a keyword is mentioned on Twitter. By this method Texas would win the tournament. Not likely!

I ended up using my favorite Twitter linking site, Tweetmeme. This would tell me how many people shared links regarding each team. Like Google valuing links into a site to determine which is the better site, I would use links shared over Twitter to judge the winner of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourament. The team with the most links, won the game. By this method, Kansas would win. Now that’s a good prediction!

I’ll return here to comment on my results as the tournament unfolds. You can also follow me on Twitter: dizzySEO to keep up with my method.

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