Yesterday news of the Oregon's new tech innovation, the "Quack Cave" broke and folks all over the overlapping tech-sports world wet their pants. Things were so exciting and super cool. Our own Erin Sorensen let us know that she was jealous. Kristian Dyer, over at Dr. Saturday, also talked about the neat new innovation; all while making dope Mighty Ducks references.
Pardon me for not falling into the "super cool, happy terrific, oh my goodness this is the greatest thing ever" camp. All the rhetoric about connectivity and letting fans look into the program doesn't impress me much. Honestly, it doesn't impress me at all. I don't really care if schools respond to Facebook posts or Twitter mentions or any of those things. The accounts could be auto-updating feeds from the RSS of the school's site, just running posted articles, and that'd be right fine to me.
However, what I do care about is teaching athletes lessons. Growing athletes into good people during their time on campus. Preparing athletes for the future in the modern world. Using resources as teaching tools to benefit the student athletes.
Now, if they're going to use this "Quack Cave" to do those things, it's an idea I can stand behind. I'd even push it as a must for other schools if that's how Oregon is going to make use of the new feature. But, if it is about fan connectionism of interactive niceties, I'll pass.
Connecting with fans is nice. Pretending like they are a part of the program and giving them a window into the teams is a treat. That said, making the athletes more social media savvy should be the true mission here. Helping kids understand what they should and should not tweet. Giving them the tools in their "life toolbox" to be able to make the tough decision on whether or not to push enter on that Facebook status. That's what the central idea here should be.
Oh, and as far as that connectivity to fans goes; the Quack Cave certainly looks like a great way to monitor and warn random Internet fan that is tweeting players and recruits. With this super great command center, steeped in fan connectionism of interactive niceties, Oregon has the wares to identify perpetrators, notify them of their potential violations and work to protect their recruits and athletes from the creeps on the Internet.
Hopefully, the "Quack Cave" will be used for the good of Oregon athletes, not just Oregon athletics. They have the platform to monitor, they have the reasons to provide help; now it is just up to them to make sure they're doing the right thing with the technology.