Beyond North America, the World Cup is quite the topic of conversation. At the very least, the big soccer tournament with 32 teams from around the world reigns supreme as the worldwide sports topic. Beyond the big match between England and the U.S., where English media can’t stop chatting about their goalkeeper’s “mistake,” there is the official ball, a newfangled creation from Adidas that has its own name – Jabulani. It’s made differently and as such it doesn’t bend and roll like other soccer balls of past tournaments. It even has a Wikipedia page. And it turns out such conversing about soccer is having a major impact on Twitter, of all things. In the digital age, social media is where world conversations happen and Twitter is suffering from a massive case of World Cup fever.
Headlines speculate whether the World Cup will bring down Twitter. The Twitter site acknowledged problems keeping up with the high traffic as everyone from CNN to a small village in Ghana set about reporting on soccer matches via Twitter. “GOAL. JPN. Score! Keisuke Honda with the strike!” said a CNN staffer’s Tweet. Another noted that it was Honda’s 24th birthday. CNN’s Twitter buzz alone had 300,000 Tweets during the first game and some analytics showed 150,000 Tweets per hour. Such massive Tweeting prompted Twitter’s engineers to double the capacity of their internal network and rebalance traffic.
When Twitter went public, gaining ground after the 2007 SXSW, it seemed like a trivial pursuit for those interested in publicizing their every sandwich bite. But now it is evolving into something much bigger. Twitter is not only for people in advanced economies. In places where few have access to television, Twitter updates rule as the fastest way to carry news. Considering it’s brevity, ideal for busy people, it’s mobility and it’s ability to cross borders of various kinds, Twitter may just become the dominant news medium of the future. But for now, MTV is looking for a Twitter Jockey.
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