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Taking the Madness out of March Madness Using Social Data

March Madness is here again and the New York team here at 1000heads have taken to Twitter – in a unique social media experiment.

Our aim was to find a way to crowdsource predictions made via social data to see if it could somehow be used to “beat the bracket”. We wanted to know how Twitter users’ conversations held up against the experts themselves, and who influenced their conversations. (As it turns out, Obama’s March Madness picks carry a lot of weight in the Twitterverse, knocking Michigan State out of the winning social spot and replacing them with Kansas.)

Here’s how we did it:

  • First, we watched what people were saying about particular teams using everything from the names of their mascots through to unique school hashtags.
  • We used that data to segment conversations around each individual team.
  • After that, we looked at how often people were talking about each team in relation to winning games, reaching particular rounds and even becoming champions.
  • Lastly, all of this info was put together, numbers crunched, coffee drank, and finally each team was assigned a score, with the highest scores progressing to the next round.

Along the way we also discovered that some 770 “dedicated workers” are making their bosses proud today, dubbing it the least productive day of the year. With the start of March Madness falling on St. Patrick’s Day – what are any of us even doing in the office?

So after thousands of conversations, hashtags, arguments, bets and otherwise, here you have the official bracket picks direct from the people of Twitter. We’ll be updating this as more conversations are had (and teams are knocked out), so stay tuned.

Now get back to work.