The 2014 World Cup has already taken the relationship between live sporting events and Twitter to new levels, with Brazil’s round of 16 match against Chile setting a new record for tweets per minute. A large part of that came down to the fact that the match ended in a dramatic penalty shootout. But how does Twitter behave while the penalty shootout is taking place?
Well, thanks to Twitter’s own data team, we now have an idea. The social network looked at tweets per second (TPS), which measures systemwide Twitter usage (not tied to specific keywords, as TPM is). What it found is that just as each player took his shot, Twitter activity dropped markedly.
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Here’s a graph detailing Twitter’s findings, with a closeup of the first shot by Brazil’s David Luiz. The same pattern is repeated throughout the entire shootout, before a big period of sustained activity on Twitter once the host nation had sealed victory.
According to Twitter, more or less the same pattern has repeated itself throughout the knockout round. As Twitter notes, it pretty much matches the kind of activity you’d see in any physical location where people have gathered to watch a game:
If you’ve been to a World Cup viewing party, you’ve probably noticed the same phenomenon: the bar buzzes with excitement as a player gets ready for his shot, and bursts into an emotional reaction based on its outcome — but went silent in between, for that moment as his laces met the ball and it curled towards the net.
If the data supplied by the knockout round is anything to go by, it seems likely that things will only get more dramatic as the the tournament wears on, especially if Brazil manages to make it all the way.