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March 26, 2013

Watching “Dunk City” Explode on Social Media

Author: Valerie Baker

#FGCU #FloridaGC #FloridaGulfCoastUniversity #DunkCity – what do these terms have in common?

  1. All were trending topics on Twitter at some point this weekend.
  2. All were topics I’d never expect to see trending on Twitter at any point.

As a Fort Myers native and recent graduate of FGCU (Class of 2012!), I’ve become accustomed to having attended a school that a lot of people haven’t heard of. While the local area knows FGCU, my school has been a tiny blip on the radar compared to other universities in Florida. Now? All I have to say is my school is in Dunk City.

A Company of Eagles

Atilus got its start at FGCU – our cofounders, Zach and Harry, meet in a class while attending FGCU. A majority of our team members are either going to Florida Gulf Coast or have graduated, Harry serves on the board for the FGCU Alumni Association, Zach was named FGCU’s 2012 Alumni of Distinction, and a majority of our team has either graduated or is attending – so, needless to say, we have some deep roots at FGCU.

I’m not much of a basketball fan, so when I tuned into the FGCU vs. Georgetown game Friday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m always supportive of my school, but the win caught me off-guard. What surprised me the most, however, was seeing my tiny university of 13,000 or so students trending WORLDWIDE on one of the most popular social networking sites.

FGCU continued to trend on Twitter throughout Friday night and then again on Sunday night through Monday. To see my school on every national sports website was (and still is) a bit of a shock!

What fascinates me most is the effect social media has on information, news, and fandom. Within the final minutes of the game, my Twitter and Facebook accounts were EXPLODING with FGCU support. People that had never heard of FGCU before Friday are now calling it the best school on earth.

Preparing for “The FGCU Effect”

Our client, Panache Desai, was featured as a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday back in February, and we saw a 157% increase in visits over the previous week.  We began prepping for this back in September, and the website handled all the influx in traffic extremely well.

FGCU’s website, however, did not fare so well. According to our local NBC affiliate, NBC-2, the FGCU Athletics Department website crashed a number of times due to the surge in traffic from Sunday night’s game versus San Diego State. In addition, FGCU’s main website received over 100,000 visits after Friday night’s game versus Georgetown. What we like to refer to as “The Oprah Effect” (a giant surge in traffic due to media exposure) can now be referred to as The FGCU Effect.”

With the Eagles getting ready to battle it out with the Gators this Friday, we can only imagine the preparation going into the website to get ready for yet another huge traffic surge. It is the best school on earth, after all.

Go Eagles! 

Valerie Baker

Valerie is the Senior Account Manager & Project Manager here at Atilus.

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