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Twitter is changing the way we watch live sporting events


Unruh is a junior broadcast major and can be contacted at tad.unruh@drake.edu.

If you watched the Super Bowl without Twitter, it was probably like watching from the Flintstones’ house on their rock sofa, like having a prehistoric bird in the TV tell you what is going on and like arguing with Barney Rubble about what dinosaur egg chip dip is better. Let me rephrase that: if you watch any live television show or live sporting event nowadays, you need Twitter, or else you are completely missing a part of the experience.

It has become almost one of the five senses of the media consumption world. Therefore, by inference, it is like eating a jelly donut if you don’t have the ability to taste. You don’t have a chance to savor the game or the experience happening on the screen. Twitter allows you to do that. The Super Bowl is a prime example of this phenomenon.

Whoever you are — man, woman, sports lover, advertising guru, casual watcher or your ordinary average Joe, the Super Bowl is an American spectacle, a TV event unsurpassed by any each year. If you look at the stats of this year’s Super Bowl, it broke the television record of 111 million viewers, and advertisers paid $3.5 million per 30 seconds of ad space. What is most important is that the role of Twitter increased exponentially since last year. Twitter set American records of tweets per second (10,245 during the halftime show for Madonna), and as the Giants won, 12,233 tweets per second bombarded the web sphere. Think about that: 10 to 11,000 tweets… PER SECOND. It is even more remarkable because last year, Twitter peaked at 4,064 tweets per second, according to the New York Times.

So what does all this Twitter jargon mean? Why should you care to download this newfangled social media jinglemagoo that you heard about with them young kids booking their face and now playing with their tweeters?

Twitter is the here and now. Hand in hand with live television, you have a running commentary from yourself and those that you follow. They comment on anything from a great play to how well an advertisement was presented to a one liner joke to personalized thoughts on the game. In Twitter language, the world is your hashtag. Just throw a rope up and grab it by the horns. It is all up to who you follow.

For me, personally, I have multiple lists catering to my separate interests: one pertaining to live sports news, one for comedians, another for specific sports teams, one for my friends and one for local and national news. Constantly updating during the Super Bowl, I was up to date on player injuries, how people reacted to an ad, who said something hilarious about Madonna’s halftime show, or that my friend spilled cheese dip all over his new girlfriend’s mom’s pants when Rob Gronkowski almost caught the Hail Mary. You would never get that unless you had Twitter.

While the Super Bowl is over, and we have to wait a whole year to experience it again, look for more opportunities to use your newfound Twitter love. Other places to use Twitter would be to look for your favorite show on weeknights, other sporting events or just on TV in general. If you look for the right hashtags and the right people to follow, you can build your Twitter presence and become an avid tweet watcher and contributor all the same.

Follow me at @tadunruh22.


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