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Facebook Face-off

Friendly rivalry moves off the basketball court and onto the Internet

Numerous similarities between Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University have long sparked a friendly rivalry between the schools. In addition to their positions as the largest public universities in the state, VCU and GMU both boast powerful CAA men’s basketball teams.

Now, VCU is trying to establish bragging rights once and for all by challenging GMU to a Facebook Face-off.

The goal? To see which university can garner the most new fans on Facebook during the next three weeks. The numbers will be tallied at noon on Feb. 9 and the winner will be announced during halftime at the VCU-GMU men’s basketball game at the Patriot Center that evening.

Tammy Berwanger, a project manager in the VCU Department of Marketing, got the idea from a similar challenge between LSU and Texas A&M — football rivals who, at the time, had the two largest Facebook pages.

“I thought it would be fun to do it with Virginia’s other largest university,” Berwanger said. “I contacted George Mason’s marketing department and they thought it was a great idea. It’s something fun to get people excited about our basketball rivalry.”

Each university has agreed to spend no more than $300 on Facebook ads. Any other means of publicizing the contest and attracting new fans must be free, via updates through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, old-school methods such as e-mail, or downright old-fashioned word-of-mouth ventures such as tables set up on campus.

For more information and links to both universities’ Facebook pages, go to www.fbfaceoff.vcu.edu.