Mariota: First Spring Practice
April Fool's Day. A day that consists of harmless pranks, white lies and terrible tweets about NBA players making mix tapes:
I will be coming out with my mixtape April 16th. Feature on it Jay-Z, Drake, Ross, Meek, Juicy J, Kendrick, Snoop, and many more. "King Me"— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 1, 2014
And, hey, didn't you hear that Justin Bieber was buying the Atlanta Falcons?
One perfectly timed article, though, caught people off guard and had Oregon Ducks football fan forums ablaze early into the day.
Time stamped at midnight, April 1st, the header of this Addicted to Quack article reads:
"In a move that sent shockwaves through Eugene, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota announced via Twitter that he was granted an exception to enter the NFL Draft and will not return to the Ducks next fall."
The ruse was on.
The article had "quotes" from Mariota and Commissioner Goodell. Seemed legit, right?
Well, except for the fact 1. Mariota doesn't have a twitter account 2. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is January 15th 3. Roger Goodell was "quoted" as saying "I'm going to have to put up with the antics of that Manziel punk all year."
Though, in the world of social media, many choose not to read those details, just accept an article headline for what it is and thus begins the watered down version of telephone.
In the 15 hours that it has been active, the article has received over 160 tweets and/or retweets and has been shared on Facebook nearly 8,600 times and registered over 37,000 page views.
It's a lot more believable than last year's article on the same website where Oregon RB De'Anthony Thomas apparently took a coaching job with the LA Lakers. (He actually was the coach of the Lakers, just a youth basketball team using the same name.)
Behind it all, Sean Larson, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication, watched the interwebs explode, sitting back and watching with a mischievous grin as it took off.
A guy by the name of "Matt Daddy" threw the idea out there through a group email and I scooped it up to write it, mainly because I honestly believe Mariota should have left this year for the draft anyway," Larson told CSNNW.com.
In the commenting section of the article, people wrote "I've been watching out for April Fool's posts all morning…but this got me." And: "Almost threw up. Fooled me. Well done."
Well done, indeed.
With "I honestly didn't know what to expect. I wanted it to sound 80% believable, but add in a few bits to make it clear the story was just in good fun," Larson said. Unfortunately, some people will always miss those hints, but I'm still amazed at how much it took off."
It's a good lesson learned as well as a good "gotcha". With the instantaneousness of social media, a message quickly takes off and muddles the facts. People spit out facts, say it's happening and eventually the orignator gets lost. Nevertheless, it got people talking. "A friend told me she heard people talking about it at the EMU (student union) today," Larson said. "Another shared a Facebook status from a friend who thought it was real."
The Oregon Ducks do have a controversy at quarterback, just not at the starting position.
Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues will battle for the back-up position all month long and into the summer months, as spring football began Tuesday. Of course, Marcus Mariota was in attendance. Oregon continues spring practices throughout the month with the Spring game set for May 3rd.