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Brackets, Brackets Everywhere

March 19, 2008

Does it seem to anyone else that everyone and their mother has a March Madness bracket this year? In the last couple of days I’ve been inundated with bracket requests. Five, to be exact, and then I jumped on the Facebook bandwagon. Actually, that second clause is pretty important. After filling out the first five brackets (I didn’t hedge my bets at all—all of my brackets are exactly the same so I know which teams to root for), I thought, “Why doesn’t someone just make one universal bracket that everyone uses?”

The answer, of course, was Facebook. After loading the application, it was revealed to me that a ton of people I knew had used that bracket as well, so I’m among “friends.”

Regardless, what’s the obsession with having your own bracket? And I’m a guilty party—in past years, if I’ve sensed that no one I knew was getting a bracket started, I’d start a bracket. That’s probably the same motivation behind most other brackets that get started.

I hearken back to freshman year in college, when a bunch of people on my floor filled out brackets (by hand, something unheard of nowadays) for our pool. There was something gritty, something real about that. But not necessarily better than online brackets—after all, it’s easy to cheat a little when you write in pencil on your bracket, and it leaves room for human error when compiling the results. But it felt like ours was the only pool in the world—ours was the one that mattered. Now I’m in six different pools, and the only unified theme is that I picked the same teams. I feel no sense of competition against any person or any group.

I think I prefer it the freshman floor way.

I wonder if you can simulate that online?

Today’s matchup results:

A Fridge in Your Pocket crushed Paperclip Dispensers. Not that the latter isn’t a good idea, but I have to say, the PocketFridge is very clever. And it doesn’t even need to be its own device—it could be an application developed for an existing PDA.

Google Analytics beat Video Game Controllers: Good call. Analytics is sweet.

New matchups (these are the final first-round games!):

“Clickable” ads and labels in real life: A PDA that you could point at a billboard, a commercial, or a stranger’s shirt, and would give you a list of online (and local) shopping results on the screen

Vs.

Shakeable phones/music players: The Sony Ericsson W910 lets you change the song playing by shaking the phone

Linking to comments on blogs: If you read an interesting comment by someone on a blog, you could click on their name and see all shareable comments and content that person has ever posted

Vs.

Passion phones: A phone that provides users with information about how a caller feels based on their voice patterns

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