A few experiences highlight the attraction of Duke basketball social media.
Whether it be current students, alumni, or those who have simply fallen in love with the Duke basketball program, Duke Nation is legion. An excellent example of that is the interest and support that Duke Twitter Live and The Brotherhood Connect have been able to achieve in such a short period of time.
I was MIA for a little bit there, but I AM BACK! As we all try to get back in the flow of things sans live sporting events, I thought it would be a great time to reflect back on some of my online experiences during the COVID-19 quarantine, including Duke Twitter Live and The Brotherhood Connect.
Duke Twitter Live brings together Duke basketball fans and players
Back in early March, Ryan Lommen (@TheDukeNation) and Zion Olojede (@DukeNBA) had approached me about an opportunity that was so incredibly unique that I could not pass it up. What they had come up with was a “live podcast” per se, where we could live stream chats where everyone could be the host, talking about anything and everything pertaining to Duke basketball.
The live stream was thus christened Duke Twitter Live and can be found via the @DukeTWTLive handle on Twitter. While I unfortunately had to miss the last two episodes at the last minute, I am looking forward to what it will be like once the college basketball season arrives.
I am also extremely happy with its initial viewership. Episode 1 ended up having over 25K viewers, and Episode 2 had over 11K viewers. The focus of each episode is to bring all of Duke Nation together in one place, to include current players and coaches, former players, and notable fans to talk about the program openly and freely.
Sometimes the mainstream can focus a little bit too much on narratives or openly flaunt blanket statements, not digging deep enough on certain topics. What I believe Duke Twitter Live can be at its peak come basketball season, is completely opposite of the hot take factories like most other podcasts or live shows.
You want respectful yet hard-hitting post-game analysis? Come to Duke Twitter Live. You want the latest info on Duke’s recruiting class? Come to Duke Twitter Live. You want to chat it up with former players and reminisce about your favorite moments with them in a Duke uniform? Come to Duke Twitter Live.
With that said, it’s time to reflect a bit about my experiences on both Duke Twitter Live and The Brotherhood Connect…
I think the best part about Duke Twitter Live is how we were able to bring on former Duke basketball player and current Director of Operations & Player Development, Nolan Smith, former player and current guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, Quinn Cook, and Victoria’s Secret Angel and queen of Duke Nation, Martha Hunt, on the very first episode.
We knew we had to get this thing off to a hot start, and that’s exactly what happened. What was initially supposed to be a 30-minute episode turned into a 2-hour show where we dug into a ton of different topics:
Some of the best moments were just being able to connect with Nolan, Quinn, and Martha. We were able to get into Martha’s background a little bit to see why she loves Duke so much. Then we turned to Quinn Cook for quite a while to talk about the program as a whole, recalling some of his favorite memories, and then he called up Nolan and all six of us chatted with him to finish up the show. While Episode 1 was more of a free-flowing interview than anything else, it was incredibly fun to be a part of.
Brian (@DukeBlogger) joined Zion, Ryan, and myself on Episode 2 with special guest and incoming recruit, Jaemyn Brakefield. This was a pretty fun episode, to be honest, and we got into more content than the first one, I thought. We chatted about NBA Draft early entree decisions, the incoming recruits, and possible starting lineups for next season. We finished it off having a draft to see who could construct the best all-time Duke starting five. Y’all know Team Rick is the goat squad!
Nolan Smith answers a suggestion for The Brotherhood Connect
At about the same time that Duke Twitter Live first aired, Duke’s elite social media team came up with The Brotherhood Connect. The connect was a place where they could bring on current and former players, along with coaches, to talk a little more in-depth about the program, giving the fans a closer look at how things operate.
Much like Duke Twitter Live, The Brotherhood Connect has been incredibly successful as well, according to viewership. They’ve put together more episodes than us on Duke Twitter Live, but they also have a distinct focus for the show, I believe.
In mid-May, the Duke University social media crew approached me about joining them on an upcoming episode of The Brotherhood Connect. What sparked the idea was a tweet I had sent out to Nolan Smith the evening prior. That’s it. It came together that quickly. Everything worked out with my schedule, so I had to jump at the opportunity when offered.
I was joined on the connect by Nolan Smith; former player, Memphis Grizzlies guard, and fan-favorite Grayson Allen; and fellow Duke fanatic with arguably the greatest privately owned Duke collection in history, Jason Blust. The episode finished up with over 15K viewers, which ended up being one of the connect’s most-watched episodes to that point.
During the show, I was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one interview with Grayson. During the interview, I asked him about what brought him back to Duke following his stellar sophomore season, among several other questions that I thought Duke Nation would like to hear the answers to. All in all, it was a great time and I’m hoping to be on again soon.
As I wrap up this nontraditional piece, I think it is a good time as any to simply send out my appreciation to you all. Grateful would be an understatement when talking about the opportunities that I’ve had to connect with the people in the Duke basketball program. I’m also incredibly grateful to the fans who care about what I have to say on these live shows, in my articles, and on my Twitter feed. You are the ones that are pushing my passion forward. Thank you and GO DUKE!