What do you get when a billion people from over 200 countries hold an interest in the same thing at the same time, and share their thoughts online?

Data. Lots of interesting data.

And that’s what we’ve been getting with this year’s World Cup. With more than 300 million Twitter mentions during the group stage of the tournament, and an estimated billion more internet users than during the last World Cup, Brazil 2014 has provided, and will continue to provide, a treasure trove of user data.

Since the start of the tournament, Twitter has released several interesting insights into how Twitter activity ties in closely to World Cup matches. For example, as I’m writing this, Argentina just scored in their Quarter Final against Belgium. This goal likely led to a surge of roughly 300,000 tweets/minute.

One of the most interesting trends the team at Twitter has seen is not the jump in usage during matches, however, but is in fact the silence they’re seeing at certain times.

Take a look at this graph provided by Twitter of the ‘tweets per second’ activity during the Brazil v Chile penalty shootout, with a closeup of the first shot:

Tweets during penalty shootouts

You can see the world gradually draw its attention more to the screen as the player prepares to take the shot. When the referee blows the whistle, Twitter goes nearly silent as all eyes are glued on the crucial kick and we all hold our breath, and then explodes with an emotional reaction once the kick has been completed.

As an avid soccer fan, it’s incredible to see this type of data, as it emphasizes the universal passion and excitement that we all share when it comes to the World Cup.

This tournament, and the final in particular, will no doubt break record upon record when it comes to internet usage. And I hope that, as a now-neutral supporter, there are a few more nail-biting penalty shootouts still to come in Brazil 2014.

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