App helps narrow NFL chatter

With football season around the corner, one new iPhone app that hit the Apple store last week is aiming directly at NFL fan chatter.

TweetQB, the brainchild of Fanvibe, displays a list of NFL matchups -- with those in progress providing the current score.

Users have the ability to check in -- the buzzword du jour online right now -- to a specific game from that screen.

Once through to a matchup, TweetQB populates tweets specific to the game via hashtags and known accounts that contribute chatter to those specific teams.

The idea is far from revolutionary, but there's value in its simplicity.

Instead of setting up your own searches via the Web or Twitter client of your choice -- which could become cumbersome and labor intensive -- the work is already done for a user with TweetQB. Just click through on any game, and it all comes to you.

If you want to chat with and discover like-minded fans, banter with the opposing fan base, or simply have a running Twitter commentary of the game in your lap, TweetQB allows you to do it all with a few keystrokes on your iPhone from your couch on a lazy Sunday.

The application also attaches a link to the Fanvibe page of that specific game -- a smart way of keeping the brand integrated and exposing it to a bigger audience, though it could turn off some potential users.

Another app that offers similar functionality -- checking into a game and chatting with fans -- is CrowdZone.

This application differs from TweetQB in that it offers games where fans can win prizes such as tickets and team gear via scratch-off games.

CrowdZone also diverges from TweetQB in that it's a self-contained community -- the chatter lives inside the app, and doesn't tap into Twitter in the same way TweetQB does -- leading to a smaller size of commentary.

Sights and smells from Turkey

With the FIBA World Championship now in full swing, members of Team USA are sharing thoughts from Turkey.

Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers is contributing to a diary blog for the Philadelphia Daily News.

His latest entry details the team's need to stay focused and what it's like being away from home for so long.

But one teammate is also bringing us his thoughts on Europeans. Danny Granger of the Pacers asked "How come nobody wears in Europe wears deodorant?" in a tweet, later adding "smellin like dead donkeys … no joke."

He later backtracked in another tweet, writing he's from New Orleans and it smells the same way.

All three tweets have since been deleted, and the perils of social media claim yet another victim.

Call me

UFC president Dana White is a known Twitter enthusiast who's active in responding to fans, and his dedication to building a following online has proved successful: At 1.75 million followers, his account is the 235th most followed on the service.

White frequently reaches out to celebs on Twitter to get their picks on fights, and before UFC 118 on Saturday night, he pulled out another trick: tweeting a cell phone number at which fans could reach him to state their picks as well -- a phone he indeed answered.

We've seen similar ideas before -- Ron Artest tweeted out his phone number during his high-usage Twitter period in the summer of 2009; Dwyane Wade has called fans on a whim -- and it's a move that further closes the gap between fans and the athletes and sports they follow.

For UFC, a sport that continues to gain popularity, White's social-media prowess is certainly helping to grow its brand online.

Ryan Corazza is a freelance writer and Web designer based in Chicago.