March Madness is a description as apt as it is alliterative. For a couple of months the NCAA basketball tournament seems inescapable. Bragging rights go to those who can best predict which teams will win. And, of course, it is a perfect opportunity to razz friends and family about how bad their picks are.
Twit Pick’em was designed and built from a client concept in under a week. The goal is to take advantage of Twitter's large userbase to build a group of NCAA tournament fans quickly. When signing up a user is added as a follower to the site’s twitter account and sent a tweet inviting the user’s friends to check it out.
The key to all this was using Twitter’s web APIs. We used Twitter’s OAuth protocol for sign up and login. This does not require that the site know a user's twitter password. Once a user is authenticated, however, we can add the user as a follower and send tweets to the user’s account.
Of course, after signing in comes the tough part: picking winners. The site only allows users to pick teams before the games are played and automatically computes user ranking relative to other members of the site as game results come in. To increase the competitive nature of the site even more we allowed users to create groups that are also automatically ranked based on the group members’ picks.