The World Cup and Global Social Media

One month every four years, people around the world lose their marbles over the World Cup. They’ll call in “sick” to work, they’ll spend their savings on tickets, they’ll laugh, cheer, and cry for their favorite team. For most of the world, soccer is a big deal. It’s the world’s game. The World Cup has been called the world’s biggest stage, and over the years it has become a truly global experience.

In 1930 U.S. national Bert Patenaude scored the first ever hat-trick in world cup history. Back then, U.S. soccer fans might have read that news in the paper the following day, said something along the line of, “Bully!” and continued about their business. If old Bert had scored a hat-trick in the 2014 World Cup millions of soccer fans would have seen it the very instant it happened on bar TVs, home computer screens, giant projection screens, and phones in lines at the grocery store. Not only are millions of fans all over the world watching World Cup games as they are happening, but they are blowing up social media with anything and everything related to the World Cup.

Robin van Persie aka the Flying Dutchman had a phenomenal header against Spain that became the first internet sensation of the 2014 World Cup. Vine, Twitter, Facebook — you name it, he was on it. It’s unclear whether the world was more entertained by his playing or the memes and photoshopped images he inspired, but it is clear he had global social media buzzing.

The U.S. opener against Ghana was huge. Ghana had knocked the USMNT out of the past 2 World Cups in 2006 and 2010. Clint Dempsey scored the fastest goal in U.S. World Cup history after 31 seconds which threw U.S. soccer fans into a frenzy, and over the course of the game there were 4.9 million tweets before culminating with the game winning header by U.S. defender John Brooks.

The 2014 World Cup is on pace to break a social media record by surpassing the Super Bowl and the Olympics in number of mentions. The phrase “World Cup” generated 19 million social mentions in 196 countries, and the U.S. accounts for a measly 8% of that. The global participation in World Cup related social media shows just how influential the World Cup can be.

It also shows just how influential social media can be. From Budweiser to Adidas to Listerine, companies are jumping in with World Cup-related social media campaigns it’s too early to say whether this world cup will be for social media marketing what the Super Bowl is for TV commercials, but it wouldn’t be a surprise.

While we’re waiting for that to shake out, don’t miss this chance to share something with the world: triumphs and heartbreaks alike.







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