Esquire Misses the Point on Twitter and the World Cup

Esquire has done what it calls a “semi-scientific” analysis of tweets about the World Cup and found that following the event on Twitter “will not enrich your game-watching experience whatsoever, despite what the mainstream media would have you believe.” Why? Because, according to the magazine’s exhaustive analysis of some 2,000 tweets (a thousand using the #worldcup tag and another thousand using the #USA tag), Twitter offers “almost nothing of importance, beyond score updates you can already see on TV and blind patriotism (laced with casual racism) that you can hear in a bar.”

No offense intended to Esquire or writer Peter Knox, but arriving at such a conclusion hardly takes any kind of analysis at all, semi-scientific or otherwise. The World Cup is a sporting event, with some of the most bitter rivalries since the Second World War — and Esquire is somehow shocked to find blind patriotism and casual racism in people’s tweets about it?

The magazine makes it sound as though someone was expecting more from Twitter. But what? In-depth analysis of soccer strategy? Trenchant observations about the coaching of Britain’s squad or the passing mechanics employed by Argentina? Esquire says that the observations people can draw from Twitter are no better than one would hear in a bar, but the fact is that in many cases, particularly during a sporting event like the World Cup, Twitter *is* like a bar — albeit one in which people can only speak in 140-character bursts.

Of course people shout out the score (virtually), or moan about a referee’s call — what Esquire called “useless observations” — but that’s part of the point. It’s called social media because it’s social. In other words, it’s a conversation; and yes, sometimes it’s like a conversation in a bar.

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Post and thumbnails courtesy of Esquire.