This world cup has created unprecedented noise through the social media channels. People have been live tweeting their opinions on matches and posting statuses on Facebook as the games happen. One can imagine the balancing act between paying attention to the ball and looking at a phone screen. David Hepworth writes that the World Cup has been a particularly prominent subject on Twitter. He claims that the social media platform may do for soccer what radio did for baseball, “allowing fringe supporters such as Stonestreet and millions of other Americans a way to come closer to the fire.” Social media platforms have allowed people to come closer to the games in various ways and placed a stagelight on what happens on as well as off the field.
Engaging With the World
Twitter has created a venue for people to engage through concise statements and banter around a highly engaging event. This has brought in the attention of even the most disinterested person. People whose national or favorite team hasn’t qualified or made it through the rounds are still talking about the games through social media. After every game there is a score of GIFs and articles that circulate the web announcing and highlighting the most memorable moments of the day’s match. The conversations and tweets about, albeit pithy remarks about a player’s action or say, nipples (Take a look at the Guardian’s Style Guide roundup of the teams and their comments on Uruguay’s “nipple-sparingly tight” shirts.)
Can’t Hear the Commentators Over All the Tweets
The commotion created by the flurry of Tweets during games has begun to drown out the television commentators. It seems like individuals are taking a more precise look and providing their succinct commentary with more detail than commentators. Hepworth describes how commentators come in with a particular narrative and usually overimpose their own perspectives onto what is actually happening. He writes:
When Brazil and Croatia were lining up in the tunnel prior to the first game, the commentator talked about “the unbearable pressure” the players were under. It didn’t look that way. It wasn’t until halfway through the tournament that Rio Ferdinand mentioned that most of the players lining up looked perfectly relaxed and were smiling…
Clearly, this leaves the future of commentators grappling with the choice to entertain or discuss events as they unfold with clarity and without opinion.
Audience Generated Content
Twitter has opened up the opportunity for everybody to become a commentator. The amount of content that flows through Twitter is unprecedented and the chances of tweeting a truly unique scarce. Yet, it seems that people look to Tweet with the intention of being original but end in the the same web of tweets that form the conversations around the World Cup.