The Toronto Maple Leafs may have won just 3 of their last 13 games, but that doesn't mean the fans aren't finding things to enjoy about the club.
If you went to MapleLeafs.com after Tuesday night's loss to the Florida Panthers, for instance, you may have been greeted by the image above, a very spiffy-looking graphic full of inspiring phrases like "Go Leafs Go!" and "Passion that Unites Us All".
Of course, the image also features a tweet from @raincity that, apart from its #SeaOfBlue hashtag, simply says "balls". That's not quite as inspiring.
The Leafs rolled out a slick new interactive splash page just prior to the game that incorporated tweets and Instagrams tagged #seaofblue.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 4, 2013
This is, in itself, a good idea. But letting this page roll in hashtagged tweets without moderation is a bad idea, especially when you have a fan base full of jaded smartasses and you just treated them to disappointing loss. Sure enough, a few of them soon discovered the fun they could have, and took the opportunity to highjack the website:
Who started it? As if you needed to ask. As with most high-level, lowbrow shenanigans in Toronto, it began with our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets:
Last night, I went to MapleLeafs.com hoping to grab the Game In However Many Minutes Of Highlights We Can Squeeze Out Anymore when I saw that the social media team (62K Social Interactions! was touted) had arranged for twitter and instagram posts tagged with #SeaOfBlue to appear on the splash page. Being a joker, I tried to see if a joke about the Leafs being more like a #SeaOfPoo would make it up there. Lo and behold, it did. And thus started two hours of people on Twitter trying to get their ridiculous and occasionally hilarious tweets on the front page of the team's website with nary a response from the social media team at MLSE.
Suffice it to say, the passion that united us all late last night was flooding the Leafs website with tweets they probably didn't endorse. Like this one, detailing how foolish letting Clarke MacArthur go looks now:
— Kevin Lee (@BringBackLee) December 18, 2013
Or pretty much anything in this screen grab:
"IT WAS FOUR ONE". Sarah Connors is a Bruins fan, Leafs. Ya blew it.
And, of course, as with anything that spirals wildly out of control, eventually Godwin's Law was invoked:
Suffice it to say, when the social media team arrived in the office the next morning, they were understandably horrified.
Apologies to Leafs Nation for a #SEAofBLUE hashtag filter issue on our website last night. Working to ensure it is family friendly again.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) December 18, 2013
How could this have happened? I would suggest that if the Maple Leafs made a better effort to reach out to the Toronto blogosphere, they would have known those guys would do something like this.
But the real question is: will any of this make it on 24/7?