Super Bowl XLVII is going to be watched live on the TV screens of an estimated 100 million Americans.
But more than ever people will also be following all the action via social media on their iPads and other tablets, smartphones and computers. In fact Nielsen reported in October 2011 that about 40 percent of Americans use a mobile or tablet device while watching TV, and that 42 percent of those who do use social media while watching.
Here's a primer on the Twitter hashtags, handles and accounts you should follow in order to make sure you see all the best commentary and opinions as the big game unfolds this Sunday.
The easiest way to follow all the Super Bowl 2013 action on Twitter is by using hashtags. Simply type one of them into the search bar on your Twitter homepage (with the "#" hash symbol attached) and you will be tapped into a feed of all the tweets that include that tag.
And if you want to get in on the conversation, simply add the hashtag into one of your tweets, and others who are following it will be able to see it in their feeds.
However, the number of tweets containing some of these hashtags on Sunday will probably be in the thousands, so there is no way you or anyone else will be able to read them all. It's part of the fun of Twitter -- you'll get caught up and won't be able to read everything, but you'll be along for the ride.
So here's the ones you should keep an eye on starting during the pre-game show of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday:
#SuperBowl: This one will likely be the most-popular of all the hashtags used on Sunday, due to the fact that it's the most obvious. This has its pros and cons. The good thing is you will have no lack of opinions, facts and reactions streaming across your feed if you follow #SuperBowl tweets. There will be dozens if not hundreds of tweets bearing it per minute, and you will see all of them. But the major negative is that they will be totally un-curated and coming from the gamut of sources. From little kids on their parents' iPhones to armchair quarterbacks, you'll be faced with a seemingly-endless stream of jabber.
#SuperBowl2013, #2013SuperBowl, #SuperBowl47, #SuperBowlXLVII and #XLVII: These are all similar tags to #SuperBowl that some people may use, and which will likely serve a very similar purpose to it. But they will likely be less-popular than the ubiquitous #SuperBowl, though any one of these could replace it as the foremost choice come Sunday.
#NFL: This hashtag will be wildy-popular, as it was last year, because it only takes up four of the scant 140 characters allowed to be used per tweet. So folks who want to fit a lot of information or emotion (gotta have space for that sixth exclamation point) will be using this one to indicate that they are tweeting about the game.
#49ers, #Niners, #SanFrancisco, #SF, #Ravens, #QuestforSix, #SBRavens, #RavenNation, #Baltimore, #Bmore: These hashtags are the ones that die-hard fans of either the '9ers or the Ravens should keep running on their Twitter feeds. Tweets bearing these team-specific tags will be tailored to your side of the football, and will feature cheerleading/boasting-style commentary, facts about players and other info that you may want as someone who knows who they want to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy this year. So if your TV room is bathed in purple, or you've ensconced yourself in maroon and gold, be sure to follow these tags.
#CBSSuperBowl: CBS is the only network broadcasting the Super Bowl this year, and as such CBS Sports will have some of the best inside information and commentary related to the big game. #CBSSuperBowl is the CBS Sports team's official Twitter hashtag, so keep track of this for their take on the big game, peppered with comments from folks who choose to ride the hashtag's coattails.
#SB47, #NFLHonors, #NFLExperience: For more official commentary on Super Bowl 47 from the pros who know it inside and out, look at the feeds of any of these three hashtags. As the official hashtags of the NFL itself, they will include some great information, commentary and more from the folks who make it all happen.
Commercial Hashtags: As the game proceeds, a number of other big hashtags will pop up, as CanadianBusiness.com reported last year that Super Bowl TV ads are now being accompanied by hashtags, in order to broaden their reach and bring them to the social media crowd. We won't know what they are until Sunday, but many Super Bowl commercials will tell you the hashtags to check out, and if you follow the national trending topics list, you should be able to figure them out for yourself.
Accounts and Handles: Keeping tabs on individual Twitter accounts by following these handles is the best way to get some of the best, most official commentary, opinion and information, without having to wade through endless tweets by folks who may have little more to say than "Go Ravens" or "The 49ers are looking good."
As such, read through the following list and pick out the accounts that sound like they would enhance your Super Bowl-watching experience, then follow them before the big game begins. Your feed will turn into a veritable trove of vital information about the game, the players and teams playing in it, and the history of the Super Bowl as it pertains to XLVII. Here they are:
Twitter.com/SuperBowl: Again, this handle is very obvious, but it's an important one, and this time there are no real negatives. The @SuperBowl account is vitally important for any diehard Twitterers and football fans out there, as this is where the most official information will be released via social media. Details about the game, individual plays, offical videos and more will be pouring out of this account all day Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to start following this one ASAP.
Twitter.com/49ers and Twitter.com/Ravens: These are both worth following, no matter which team you're rooting for. As the official Twitter homes of this year's two Super Bowl contenders, they will include their fair share of cheering and supportive tweets, but more important will be the information they provide. From updates on injuries that may -- hopefully not, knock on wood -- take place during the game to statistics and from call clarifications to information about individual players, these are the accounts to follow if you want the real dirt on the game.
Twitter.com/NFL, Twitter.com/NFLonCBS: These two accounts will include all the information the NFL sends out on the Super Bowl via Twitter. Not only is the information going to be official, it will also mostly pertain to football, rather than what celebrity guests are in attendance at the big game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and Beyonce's performance during the Half-Time Show. Though we know there will probably be some of that type of stuff, too.
Twitter.com/CBSSports: This is the official Twitter account of CBS Sports, which, as we explained above, has a unique inside vantage point from which to comment on the game. As such, it would probably behoove you to read what the CBS Sports team has to say as the game gets underway.
That's it for our list. Feel free to add your own favorite Super Bowl XLVII hashtags, handles and accounts in the comments if you think there are some big ones that we left out (we know there are.) Happy tweeting, and may the best team win!
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