- Maria Burns Ortiz, ESPN Playbook
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Trending isn't the same thing as true.
This proved to be the case in the social media-fueled triangle that became Osi Umenyiora, Charlie Sheen and Lawrence Taylor's Super Bowl ring.
It began last weekend, when Umenyiora promised to buy and return Taylor’s Super Bowl ring if the Giants defensive end reached 1 million Twitter followers by that evening. He scaled the number back to 500,000, yet even half proved to be too lofty an expectation.
Umenyiora, who joined Twitter earlier this month, gained nearly 35,000 followers from the stunt, but still fell about 450,000 followers short.
The ring ultimately sold at auction for $230,401. Learning the final price, Umenyiora tweeted, “Yikes! I guess the 450,000 let me off the hook!”
In reality, Umenyiora was never really at risk of having to spring for the ring because gaining that kind of a following would be impossible for almost anyone. Hence the irony when news broke Thursday-- via Twitter, of course -- that Charlie Sheen was reportedly the “winning” bidder.
In March 2011, Sheen set the world record for “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers,” hitting the milestone in just more than 24 hours. The actor amassed 600,000 within eight hours on the site and had 60,000 followers before even sending his first tweet. (By contrast, Umenyiora has about 52,000 followers.)
Sheen has a history as a sports memorabilia collector, and procuring Taylor’s ring would not have been his first foray into championship jewelry.
However, Sheen took to Twitter to set the record straight on Friday morning, posting, "RE: Lawrence Taylor's Ring: As much as I would be honored to own such an important artifact... I had nothing to do with the acquisition. c"
#NASCAR more than just a hashtag
NASCAR and Twitter are partnering to provide race fans with a better second-screen experience that will complement and enhance the sport’s broadcasts. Starting on June 10, users who click or search the #NASCAR hashtag will see a customized page featuring curated tweets and photos from NASCAR, its drivers, analysts, celebrities and fans. While Twitter works with a number of teams, leagues and athletes in various capacities, this agreement is the site’s first formalized partnership with a professional sports association.
Chelsea bests Bayern Munich on field and Web
The Champions League final between Chelsea FC and Bayern Munich came down to a shootout with Didier Drogba converting the winning penalty kick for the Blues. As far as social media, the numbers Chelsea put up against Bayern Munich constituted a blowout. Of tweets mentioning a team, 73 percent mentioned Chelsea. The top five players mentioned on Twitter were all members of the Blues’ roster. (Not surprisingly, Drogba generated the most mentions.) The team also picked up more than 20,000 Twitter followers in the hours immediately after the victory to pass the 1 million mark. Twitter users sent more than 32,000 tweets per minute during Saturday's match.
Elsewhere in the social mediasphere
• The Detroit Tigers became the 10th Major League Baseball team to hit 1 million “likes” on Facebook.
• The International Olympic Committee launched its Foursquare page on Tuesday. Users can check in to London 2012 venues as well as Olympic sites past and present around the globe.
• A Twitter follower helped reunite Chad Ochocinco with his wallet after it was stolen from the wide receiver’s rental car.
• Ohio State is going to supply all student-athletes with iPads beginning this fall.
• Checking in at and updating your status from NFL games might soon get a whole lot easier. Commissioner Roger Goddell wants to see every NFL stadium equipped with wireless Internet, possibly as early as the 2013 season.
Got a story we should feature? Have a site we should check out? Who's on your must-follow list? Tweet me at @BurnsOrtiz. If your idea gets mentioned in this column, so will you. Follow Playbook on Twitter at @ESPNPlaybook.