On the night of the Super Bowl, I started seeing the hashtag #Lastman pop up on Twitter.
Folks like John Carney of CNBC, Lockhart Steele of Curbed, and the blogger Brendan Loy were tweeting about wanting to become the #Lastman to learn #TheKnowledge.
I quickly figured out that all of these folks were in a big game to go as long as possible without learning the result of the Super Bowl.
The game is still ongoing, but the remaining players are dropping like flies.
CNBC’s John Carney — who had told colleagues on Monday not to tell him the result, and who was only using Twitter by following certain key words — got knocked out today.
— John Carney (@carney) February 6, 2013
Yesterday we caught up with Brendan Loy, a father of 3 who works at a law firm in Denver, who we first started following on Twitter thanks to his surprisingly awesome analysis of the weather events surrounding Hurricane Sandy.
He’s still in the hunt to be the #Lastman to learn #TheKnowledge.
In our discussion, he told us about the origin of the game and why he’s playing.
“Last Man was a game invented by Kyle Whelliston, founder of the MidMajority when I want to say, he was in high school, back in the 80s I think, 1989 I believe was the first year he did it, where he tried to avoid finding out who won the superbowl for as long as possible and the idea of it was just sort of a competition, of Kyle competing against himself to see how long he could go. And then once he founded MidMajority and player community around here and he started to blog and tweet about it, and other people who found it interesting, first started in the past few years, a lot of people on twitter started playing it. And this year I decided to do it for the first time and see how long I could go.”
Loy is a Broncos fan, and only played because he didn’t have a dog in the San Francisco vs. Baltimore fight.
So how does Loy avoid learning #TheKnowledge? He explained:
“It changes day to day, and I’m only on my second day here but on Monday, you have to be very careful with newspapers, because every newspaper is going to have it on the front page. So you have to be aware of, newspaper boxes, convenience stores, anything like that you have to be sure to be sort of thinking ahead to OK, I know there’s newspaper boxes so I cant look there, I know there’s a break room in my office, and there’s the Post on my table so I have to be careful not to look at that, stay away from the break room. Also, you want to like stay away from human interaction as much as possible, because people talk a lot about it the day after. I had my door closed all day.”
Electronically, Loy is only following a whitelist of safe people on Twitter, he’s not looking at any of his Twitter @-replies, and he’s not checking his personal email.
When he recently had to search for something in GMail, he only looked at the computer from askance, while also squinting, so that he wouldn’t be able to make out any subject headlines.
He took a picture to show what he looked like when searching GMail:
Photo: Brendan Loy, Flickr
So what did Loy do on the night of the Super Bowl?
Basically watched Puppy Bowl re-reruns with his kids, aged 1, 3, 5.
“I’ve got three kids, ages 1, 3 and 5, so we were just playing and then we had dinner and we were going to watch the puppybowl, but actually we don’t have cable, we do pretty much everything through internet, or broadcast TV, so I couldn’t find a stream of the puppybowl, so we ended up watching some prior year’s puppybowl, which to me is all the same.
We watched some of that and we put them all to bed and it was while i was putting them to bed that the blackout happened and i didn’t realise that until later on when I saw LastMan tweeting about it, and then once they were in bed, and the game was still going on, I was just doing some work and checking my safe-twitter account, and you know, I wasn’t watching anything.”
So what has Loy learned in this experience? A few things. One is that it really drives home what a unifying experience the Super Bowl is. He also realised how much concentration it takes to avoid media. He almost reflexively typed the letters “D… R….” into his browser to go to the Drudgereport, but thankfully he had installed a filter on it before the game. At another point in his office, even when he was thinking about not looking at the newspaper in his office’s breakroom, he forgot and briefly saw the front page, but averted his eyes before he was able to register it.
How far does he want to go with it?
The winner from last year…he still doesn’t know. He’s still sticking with it, he still doesn’t know who won last year’s superbowl. He’s not a football fan, obviously. Some people who play it, including Kyle, do it because they don’t like football. I’m not in that camp, I like football. I’m more of a college fan than pro, but pro too. So for me it’s just an oddity. For some people it’s an ideological thing, where they’re like rebelling against the cultural norm that we all have to care about this superbowl.
Good luck Brendan! We’re pulling for you.
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