It started off innocently enough. After a long night of edits in The Daily Nebraskan newsroom, I was browsing other Big Ten newspapers’ Facebook pages, hoping to learn the intricacies of other student publications.
As I went onto The Daily Iowan’s page, a blank chat box popped up, inviting me to chat with them. I stared at the screen for a few seconds before making a decision in the classic college student fashion — what could possibly go wrong? I started a dialogue with a simple, “Greetings from the Daily Nebraskan!”
We started a short conversation, but I couldn’t help but insert my (completely true) assertion that Nebraska has better corn, hoping to incite some witty, but private, banter. Instead, what I got was a challenge to take the argument to Twitter. Naturally I accepted, not realizing what that would entail.
What happened was this.
My private Facebook message, along with my profile picture and name, was posted on The Daily Iowan’s Twitter account, in addition to a poll with the caption, “May the best state win...”
Knowing I just challenged Iowa to a popularity contest on its own Twitter account, I was nervous approaching my editor-in-chief with news of what I had done.
We could very well lose.
But I had faith in Husker Nation. We spread the word by retweeting the poll and mobilizing our staff. Nebraska corn completed the comeback, winning 61 percent to a low 39 percent.
But I still have this question: why did over 6,000 people, including about 3,600 Husker fans, choose to vote on which corn was better?
Of course, the obvious answer is it was never about corn.
I may be wrong, but I doubt if anyone who voted could even tell the difference between the produce of each state.
No, this poll was about pride. Nebraskans want to support their state and Iowans wanted to support theirs. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that more people voted for Nebraska corn than Iowan corn. It will have no effect on Black Friday when the two teams face off. But that hasn’t stopped me from bragging about our victory.
In a prime example of social identity theory, each side hitched its pride to a question about corn. It matters because we made it matter. It carries significance because we give it significance, no matter how much Iowans will try to downplay it.
Ultimately, though, it was a fun interaction between student publications. Both papers used social media to engage readers in a poll question about maize. How cool is that?
Thank you to The Daily Iowan for playing along and giving the Huskers a platform to show they really are the greatest fans in the nation.
Senior Opinion Editor