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Celebrating the World Cup on Social Networks Around the World

GOOOOOOOALLL! The cries of soccer-mad fans and the bellows of vuvuzelas have filled bars, basements and radios around the world as the 2010 World Cup hits full stride. The World Cup has also been a mainstay on social networks. When the US qualified with a last minute goal against Algeria, the World Cup dominated 80% of Twitter’s trending topics, and during the recent match between Denmark and Japan, Twitter reached a record high 3,283 tweets per second!

However, it’s not only Twitter and Facebook that are used to shared news of the latest goal. A large number of social networks foreign to US users dominate in terms of unique visitors with sites like Baidu, QQ and Hi5 receiving more visitors than LinkedIn.

As noted by the Economist, these sites include:

Orkut, a Google-owned service that is heavily used in India and Brazil, and QQ, which is big in China. On top of these there are other big national community sites such as Skyrock in France, VKontakte in Russia, and Cyworld in South Korea, as well as numerous smaller social networks that appeal to specific interests such as Muxlim, aimed at the world’s Muslims, and ResearchGATE, which connects scientists and researchers.


With a large diversity in social networking sites, we are beginning to see the change from high noise and low signal, to low noise and high signal. This to say that sites like Facebook and Twitter have millions of users and constant stream of chatter. While this information is useful, it can be overwhelming and distract users from getting information they want. Increasingly, specialized networks such as Sprouter for entrepreneurs or the aforementioned ResearchGATE are used to share with a specific and focused audience.

It seems that this is the next step in social networks. While I love trying to read 3,000 tweets a second, it’s more interesting to share thoughts with other travel lovers or at least to filter out the conversation to people watching the same game I am, like I can do on Hot Potato. Numerous tools make this more possible such as Twitter’s hashtags or creative Facebook API such as UniVision’s ability to share with others watching the game, but look for users to begin to demand more specific networks. This could be customized for their language, their interest, their profession, their age, their race, their gender or their technological skill levels. The impact on separating and creating difference as opposed to uniting through technology will be interesting to watch.

With more social network options, expect the use of social media to continue to grow. Already the US spends almost 6 hours per user per month on social media, just behind other World Cup failures Britain and Italy and well ahead of Germany and Brazil. Based on this data, maybe it’s time for the US to stop using social media and start practicing for the 2014 World Cup.


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