Northwestern football launches social media portal

Josh Walfish, Gameday Editor

Northwestern’s football program unveiled its latest way to interact with fans Tuesday, launching a new website to consolidate all of the social media activity the team generates.

TheWildcatWay.com will serve as a single outlet for potential recruits and fans to see what players are posting on the Internet. The site includes links to the NU football pages of seven different social media sites as well as previews of the latest content.

“We really didn’t have a one-stop shop for fans and recruits to showcase everything we’re doing and really get a glimpse into the program,” said Cody Cejda, the director of football operations. “It’s really just a way to provide a look into our program and see how things are as a part of this team. It kind of gives people outside of the program (the chance) to feel what it’s like inside the program.”

The NU athletic department’s partnership with Chicago-based interactive studio Uncommon Thinking goes back nearly two years, when the football program considered redesigning its website for recruits. But when officials realized how much traction the team already gained through coach Pat Fitzgerald’s Facebook posts, they nixed the plan, Cejda said. Instead, they turned their focus to designing a site to house all of the content the football staff was creating about the lighter side of being part of the Wildcats.

“We want to do everything we can to provide as much positive exposure as possible,” Cejda said.

Doug Meffley, the athletic department’s director of social media, said the football office was “very forward thinking in how they use social media.” This approach has included efforts to use non-traditional social media outlets such as Tout, where the football team posts all of its videos, including some which do not make it on the main site.

“The increased social collaboration we have between the football office and ourselves, which has grown over the past year or so, is starting to bear big fruit,” Meffley later wrote in an email. “We have had video production meetings all spring and summer which have led to increased video on NUsports.com and our various social outlets, we have worked together on the creation of our #B1GCats hashtag, and now TheWildcatWay.com, and in a lot of instances these ideas have begun in the football office and been fostered by our staff and theirs in their execution.”

Cejda credited Fitzgerald with inspiring the social media portal by pushing his staff to come up with fresh ideas for connecting players and fans.