Like everything else in 2015, the game will be analyzed, chewed up, and digested on social media. In fact, the new standard for judging how big a deal “X” was seems to be the amount of social buzz it generated. It reminds me of using the specious metric of “hits” to allegedly measure the mindshare of stories about “X.”
One problem with such indices is that they’re mostly viewed in isolation. We have no universal barometer for social impact. Especially with social media, knowing the context and sentiment of the message is important.
Those 265 million Facebook interactions about the Super Bowl: Were they positive, negative, weirded out (Katy Perry, I’m looking at you), or completely irrelevant, like crowing that you found a great parking spot at the supermarket because everyone was home watching the game?
Tweets are fun for quick pulse-takings on big events (or making visualizations like the one atop this post), but not indicative of much more than a topic poking its head above the noise floor of the Twitterverse. As I write this, some Big Bowl tags are still trending, but so is #GroundhogDay (more winter for your Pennsylvanians, by the way).
Instead of focusing on the actions, maybe we should look at reactions. Examine engagement, as demonstrated by the content of the messages and the duration of interest. This means adding the additional perspective of time – as in this chart of Latin American social media activity:
This points out another issue with focusing exclusively on quantity: The whole world rarely thinks alike. While Sunday was all nachos and pigskin in the U.S., the World Cup still owns the crown for most tweets.
The game has come and gone, but we’re still talking about Super Bowl commercials (and seeing them, over and over). A year from now, will you remember the joy/heartbreak of that goal-line interception, or the punch line from an ad that has worked its way into your long-term memory? That may be the true impact of this event.