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World Atwitter Over Soccer

Robert Chilver

A lot has been made of last weekend’s Women’s World Cup final and its impact on social media. As my colleague Allie mentioned earlier this week here, the championship match between the U.S. and Japan registered a record number of mentions on twitter, climaxing at 7,196 tweets per second during the final penalty kicks.

I, personally, was not able to watch the game because I was vacationing in Mexico. But being out of the country during this worldwide event gave me a unique perspective on social media and its international presence. While the tweet record is certainly impressive considering the United States usually has a small soccer following, I have realized that this record is going to be broken on a regular basis over the next few years. The record is not necessarily a reflection of the event as much as a reminder that the number of people participating in social media conversations continues to grow each and every day.

After my experiences in Mexico and some reading up on the subject over the past week, I’ve been surprised by the incredible international presence on social media. Certainly I knew these platforms were popular out of the country, but I was pleasantly surprised how influential these markets are.  Last Sunday, for example, I was shocked to not find the Women’s World Cup game on our hotel’s main lobby TVs. Instead, a packed lobby was watching the Copa America quarterfinal between Brazil and Paraguay. A quarterfinal game relevant only to South America over a World Cup Championship? It seemed not even a close comparison.

But what many people, including myself, didn’t realize is this game’s tweets per second nearly surpassed that of the Women’s World Cup. Peaking at 7,166 tweets per second, the game now stands second on the all-time list, surpassing massive events like the Japanese tsunami, England’s Royal Wedding and Osama bin Laden’s death. That’s quite a feat considering the tournament is exclusively between South American teams.

The lesson here is that social media is making even regional events a worldwide conversation. As the world of twitter, facebook, etc. continues to grow, expect most major events to become record-breaking as well. Sports specifically will continue to be a catalyst for social media breaking news, discussions or even trash talking.

So on that note, I’ll end by beginning a discussion on the type of “futball” I know best:

#GoBears #BeatThePack