With thousands of people from all over the world in town for the Super Bowl, you'd think it would be almost impossible to communicate with all of them at the same time. The New Orleans host committee has actually found that to be no trouble at all.
The last time the Super Bowl was here in the Crescent City, in 2002, we had Internet, and most people had cell phones, but our ability to connect to total strangers was not like it is today. Now with the use of web site like Twitter, the host city is able to follow along with people's on-line conversations..
"Everyone who is using that 'best of' hashtag, this is what they're saying," said Tiffany Starnes, who is part of the team handling social media for the Super Bowl host committee. She pointed to a bank of computer monitors that displayed several Twitter screen names and what the users had recently posted to their news feeds.
Starnes says when Mayor Mitch Landrieu used his Twitter account to ask locals to recommend their favorite spots for eating, entertainment or just hanging out, the response was huge.
"Tons of conversation," she said, ranging in topics from "jazz, orchestra, Mardi Gras."
In Twitter parlance, a hashtag is the use of the pound symbol (#) to create a keyword, making it easier for other users to find. By using the hashtag #BestofNOLA, Mayor Landrieu created a keyword that other Twitter users could follow. And as other users re-Tweeted the mayor's message (quoting it and posting it in their feeds for their followers to see), the following of #BestofNOLA quickly shot into the list of Twitter's top trending topics.