Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Something to Sink Your Teeth Into

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo.
FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

No matter if you have been watching the World Cup or not, my guess is that in the last 24-hours, you have heard the name Luis Suarez. The Uruguay player made overnight headlines by allegedly biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during yesterday’s match up. And while the refs on the field didn’t call anything, the cameras captured it all. FIFA has now charged Suarez with assaulting an opponent and a determination on what will happen to Suarez should be released later today.

Once again, social media took its hold. As ABC News reported, before the game, Suarez was mentioned on Twitter about 100,000 times. After the bite seen round the world, his name mention grew to more than 2 million overnight. Pithy comments and jokes were everywhere on social media and it didn’t take long for a Google search of Suarez’s name to bring up pages of blog posts and media reports.

So with all of this instant impact, I find myself wondering whether Twitter’s voice won’t be an influencing factor going into today’s hearing. How could you have avoided it, really? Granted, Suarez dug his own hole; this is the third time he has been called out for biting another player so he probably has what’s coming to him in terms of future playing time. But, if last night’s bite wouldn’t have been on the Word Cup stage, it probably wouldn’t have gotten the play on Twitter that it did. And if that was the case, would FIFA have been so swift to take action?

To me this is an example of not just the reach of social media, but the potential power it has. If enough people voice the same thought (experts and laymen alike), what kind of influence can it truly have? I’m not talking about a few upset customers who complain to a certain brand to get a product changed or fixed, I’m talking about real influence. In this case, will social media’s reaction to Suarez’s actions influence whether he continues to play or not? Now we are talking about social’s influence on one person.

So has social media condemned Suarez before FIFA can? What do you think? Share your thoughts!

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