Arch Madness: #RedbirdTwitter leads the charge to St. Louis
If you follow Illinois State Athletics on Twitter during a big competition, you have probably seen #RedbirdTwitter. The hashtag has grown over the course of a year from a simple way to tag posts to a full-on fan movement.
Tim Pantaleone ‘07 is an avid #RedbirdTwitter user. He is a proud Redbird, who serves on the Alumni Association board of directors and performed as Reggie Redbird during his time as a student. Pantaleone said Redbird fans started adopting the hashtag during the men’s basketball team’s run at Arch Madness 2018.
“It’s not a set collection of fans,” he said. “It’s meant to create an inclusive environment for all Redbird fans that want to support our teams. Whether we win or lose, it is fans having quality interactions with other fans.”
Pantaleone credited Lisa Moran and her Twitter handle, @Morans14, for popularizing the hashtag. Moran moved to the Bloomington-Normal area from Ohio in 1997 when her husband, Mark Moran, was transferred here. Even though neither of them attended Illinois State, they quickly became supporters of Redbird Athletics by attending games and through gifts to the program.
“We’re big college sports fans in general and we wanted to support the Redbirds,” she said. “We’ve been to volleyball and football in the same week. We’ve gone to men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and gymnastics all in the same week. We try to go to every home event we can.”
Moran started tagging her tweets about Redbird athletics with #RedbirdTwitter to start a positive feed of support for the players and coaches. At first, the hashtag was used only by Moran and some of her close friends. It quickly spread as Redbird fans started seeing the tag and using it for their own posts.
“It was sort of a rallying call,” Pantaleone said.
#RedbirdTwitter users quickly took their online relationships to the real world. They meet up at local establishments before games, make signs, and attend the coaches shows. They road trip together to see the Redbirds compete in away games.
“We put up on Twitter that we are going to be somewhere before a game, and people just show up,” Moran said. “It is a great way to meet people.”
Moran also enjoys interacting with Redbird student-athletes and coaches. Senior point guard Keyshawn Evans is one of her favorite players on this year’s basketball team, and she looks forward to cheering him on with her signature “Threeshawn” signs at this year’s Arch Madness.
“One of the things that makes following the Redbirds fun is how accessible the players and coaches are,” Moran said. “You get to see how much they appreciate the support. We can tell it means a lot to them for us to be there.”
If you want to get involved with #RedbirdTwitter, it is as simple as using the hashtag.
Update: The Redbirds secured the No. 7 seed and will open Arch Madness at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, against Evansville. The TV broadcast will be on the MVC TV network, which includes NBC Sports Chicago, FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana, and FOX Sports Kansas City. All game audio broadcasts will be available on WJBC 1230 AM, Nash Icon 93.7 FM, GoRedbirds.com, and the Tune In app.