Social media standings (Part 1): T-Birds teams and their online presence

It seems the winter break is all about saying you’re going to do things and then not being able to follow through. You say you’re going to sleep more now that you don’t have to get up for class, and you don’t because the lack of structure keeps you up into the early hours of the morning. You say that you’re going to eat better, but that doesn’t happen either – December is like a minefield of baked goods.

Of all the excuses you’ve had this winter break for not doing the things on your to-do list, there were none as dangerous as social media. Going forward — and thanks to me — you won't have to spend hours scouring social media for the best sports content here on campus, hopefully freeing up some time for those New Year's resolutions of yours.

Here’s a list of the public social media accounts for some of UBC’s varsity teams. I have checked my list twice and I’m going to tell you which accounts are naughty or nice for social media cruising.

Rowing: 5/5

Instagram – @ubcrowing

Twitter – @UBCRowing

Facebook – /UBCrowing/

The UBC rowing team has the nicest looking content of any of the sports teams so far investigated. Admittedly, the fact that the team gets photos outside in the beauty of nature helps its case, but the consistency of the team’s content goes far beyond sunset-over-lake photos. The team has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and they have consistent account names between platforms. The consistency of their content extends even to their team pictures. The timeline cover photo on their Facebook page shows all 70+ team members with identically wide and cheerful smiles. These smiles remain unchanged throughout all of the other pictures on the page, regardless of venue. It’s almost cult-like... but, like, in a good way.

With a mix of breathtaking outdoor shots, picturesque team head shots and bios, UBC rowing’s social media game is on point.

Men’s 3V8+ place 3rd overall in the JV category!

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Women’s field hockey: 4.5/5

Instagram – @ubcwfieldhockey

Twitter – @ubcwfieldhockey

What the Thunderbirds women’s field hockey team lacks in Facebook presence, they make up for in pictures of team members with gold medals and championship banners on Instagram. It’s hard to argue with them when their Instagram bio says “Champions from 2011-2016.”

There’s a particular picture worth checking out on their Instagram that appears to be a team photo that was presumably edited to make it look like the players jumped so high they were next to an airplane. Some of the team members are positioned such that they spell the word ‘hype’ in the air. My description can’t do it justice. That said, I can say with certainty that this is the only place you can go to see such a photo — which probably has to count for something.

Women’s volleyball: 4/5

Instagram – @ubcwvb

Twitter — @ubcwvb1

Facebook – /ubcwvb/

The women’s volleyball team has perhaps the best use of Instagram of the investigated teams. The page not only includes a series of bios on specific players that detail information and fun facts about them, but also leverages what I like to call the “volleyball face.” Now, I’m no athlete, but it seems to me that there are few other sports that require as much concentration, focus and coordination as volleyball – or at least that’s what the faces of the players in the photos would lead me to believe. It is my guess that players would never normally allow pictures of themselves making these faces on to social media, but in the context of volleyball, the more outlandish the face the better.

Men’s ice hockey: 4/5

Instagram – @ubcmhky

Twitter — @UBCMHKY

Facebook – /ubcmhky/

There are plenty of posts on the UBC men’s hockey team’s Instagram page that show the players in the dressing room and in practice — some behind-the-scenes insight for their rabid fans. On their Facebook page, there are numerous pictures of a small blonde kid wearing a tie. There are pictures of him with team mascot Thunder, pictures of him with a member of the coaching staff and a picture of him at the dressing room stall of team captain Wes Vannieuwenhuizen. As of yet, I am unable to determine whether this is a kid from a local hockey team that was visiting UBC, the kid of a coach or if this is actually team captain Wes Vannieuwenhuizen. I have only ever seen Wes in uniform and in-game. It’s possible that the skates and shoulder pads make him look bigger than he really is.

Women’s hockey: 4/5

Instagram – @ubcwhky

Twitter — @UBCWHKY

Facebook – /ubcwhky/

Much like the women’s field hockey team, it is difficult to argue with a timeline cover photo that shows the team with a championship banner. It is interesting to note that their Instagram page shows a number of shots of their division’s standings, with the Thunderbirds moving in and out of first place in the league. Thanks to the success of the team this year, there have been plenty of opportunities for images like these. Such photos are conspicuously lacking on the men’s team’s Instagram – but after eight straight losses, it's hard to blame them.

Men’s basketball: 3.5/5

Instagram – @ubc_mbb

Facebook – /ubcmensbasketball/

I appreciate that all the most recent photos on the team’s Facebook page are not of young students playing basketball, but of men playing golf. I love a social media account that keeps me on my toes.

Special shout-out to the camera that films the men’s basketball games, which by my estimation is the only piece of video equipment that is as old as UBC itself. Every grainy video of Conor Morgan dunking the ball looks like it could be from the first basketball game ever, as if I’m watching a Heritage Minute on the origins of the sport. I feel like I can almost make out James Naismith in the blur of the crowd.

Men’s volleyball: 3/5

Instagram – @ubcmensvolleyball

Twitter — @ubcmvb

Facebook – /UBCMVB/

There is one thing that is certain about the men’s volleyball team based on their social media accounts: the members of this team want to be taken very seriously.

To start, they are the only team I’ve found so far who has their Facebook page URL extension in capital letters. Capital letters are, as everyone knows, the most serious kind of letters, and should be used only by the most serious sports teams. The cover photo of the page has a similar feel. Every member of the team is completely expressionless, as if players who displayed emotion were subject to discipline at the hands of their very serious peers. There is, however, one player in the front row who is almost smiling. I don’t want to call him out specifically, as I want to keep my conscience clear – but if he’s reading this, you know who you are.

Credit to their Instagram though, which showcases videos over photos whenever it can. The multimedia force is strong with this account.

Swimming: 2.5/5

Instagram – @ubcswim & @ubcwswimming

Twitter — @TBirds_Swimming & @ubcwswimming

I would like to give the women’s swim team a nice rating for their Instagram, but the men’s team is holding them back. The men’s team has not only taken the @ubcswim handle, but have only managed to pull together six posts. The women’s team on the other hand has over 100 posts, including most recently a post of their championship banner. For such a successful team with a successful Instagram page, you would think the women’s team would get the @ubcswim handle for themselves, or at the very least be able to share it.

The team's old Twitter account had a similarly bold name when it first started, @UBCMEN, but this has since been abandoned for @TBirds_Swimming. This account only recently picked up again after a hiatus since April, and is pretty photo heavy so far. On the other hand, the women's teams Twitter account hasn't made any movement this term at all.

There's potential for these accounts, but perhaps they need to pare down their social media hubs.

It feels good to bring it home 🏆#bbtt

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