The World Cup's Affect on Social Media

Roundedcube Roundedcube
July 13, 2010
Digital Marketing

Breaking news has always been a part of social media. The Egyptian arrest of American James Karl Buck in April of 2008 was the story that introduced me to Twitter. I learned of George Steinbrenner's passing this very morning from a friend's status update on Facebook.

What I am trying to say is nothing earth shattering but my simple point is this: social media has given us a new way to receive the news we want to receive, communicate about it (among other thoughts and things) and connect with people and businesses (some we don't even know in real life) in ways that continue to evolve. Social media is redefining relationships as we know them.

Over the last month, the World Cup became one of the hottest topics in social media. I remember saying to myself on Friday, June 11th, "Is Twitter broken?" The first game of the World Cup had started and Twitter was over capacity. Twitter addressed the issue on it's blog and then throughout the rest of the World Cup we witnessed the affect the World Cup was having on Twitter. Tweets-per-second were at an all time high and Twitter records were broken weekly.

But World Cup followers weren't only in love with Twitter. My Facebook news feed was flooded with World Cup score updates, comments on blown calls, and pride for various nation's teams. I have a disclaimer though, I played Division I collegiate soccer (many many years ago) so my Facebook friend list skews "Soccer Lovers," however, I do have non-soccer loving friends who were commenting on the World Cup as well ... and get this, they were enjoying the soccer conversations.

It was a week or two before the World Cup that I saw Nike's "Write the Future" video online:

That video gave me goose bumps for many reasons. First, I am a fan of the sport and the video ignited World Cup fever throughout my body. Secondly, Nike's execution of that video is simply brilliant. I was amazed by the comprehensive thought process that went into its creation. Thirdly, I instantly knew people would be talking about that video. To date, nearly 20 million people agree and have watched it. Nike knows viral. The "Write the Future" video summarized Nike knows exactly what they are doing and they know they are doing it right.

And then came Wednesday, June 23rd. The USA vs. Algeria game. The final match in group play and the outcome of the game would decide whether or not the US team advanced. The anticipation and chatter about the game was intense. Landon Donovan's goal in the 91st minute sent a shock wave through the soccer community. It also produced this video by college senior:

Another World Cup inspired video that captivated soccer fans ... and went viral.

Interestingly enough, the World Cup and its affect on social media got my brain spinning more than when I was glued to Twitter during the 2008 Presidential Election and more than while I was (shamelessly) watching LeBron James' decision last week and reading about the aftermath on different social media outlets. In my mind, there were no winners or losers in the World Cup social media discussions. It united fans, nations, and the world for one month. And I look forward to seeing how its social media success affects us in the future.

Author: Alisa Thwing

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