Because Eurovision.

5,384,678

The number of Tweets sent during the 2014 Eurovision final.

1,124,463

The number of Twitter users online on the night.

47,136

The number of Tweets they generated per minute.

In the words of Ellie Hall, “Once a year, the internet becomes flooded with ridiculously strange/ awesome images, GIFs and music
videos that resemble nothing so much as American Idol on LSD.”

Ask a European what Eurovision is and they will tell you simply, “war”. Member countries of the European Broadcasting Union submit a song to be performed live on television in the hopes that their lyrical number will be voted the favourite by the people.

The Eurovision Song Contest was originally started in 1956 to unite the European Nations in wake of the devastation brought by WWII. What’s so beautifully cyclical about this is that Eurovision has become the poster child of globalisation, uniting not only the European nations, but all countries as we witness the spectacle on our computers, phones, TVs and engage in live commentary via social media.

Twitter allows users a “back-channel” behind the screens of their televisions to engage in live commentary and conversations about the media event unfolding. Previously, users would have to ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ one another to see another user’s comment. Through the use of the hashtag, users are unified under a common theme, if you will.

“The Eurovision Song Contest already contains a degree of interactivity for its audience through public voting, therefore, even without the backchannel provided by social media,” Highfield (2013) says.

“Over time, the contest has also developed a cult following, with viewers watching Eurovision not just for the multicultural showcase, the music and the performances, but also in some cases for the kitsch spectacle, enjoyed (but not always) with a degree of ironic detachment.”

This television/social media interaction is contributing to our perception of the world as a smaller space, where users can feel like they are discussing an event with their neighbour when they are really conversing with someone on the other side of the world.

Twitter was the platform which spelled out, in capital letters, how the globalisation of Eurovision is dismantling the walls between nations and between the East and West.

Some people just haven’t read the memo.

References:

Hall, Ellie, ‘Everything Non-Eurpoeans need to know about Eurovision’, 21/5/13, http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/everything-americans-need-to-know-about-eurovision

Highflield, Tim, Harrington, Stephen, and Bruns, Axel, ‘Twitter as a Technology for Audiencing and Fandom: The #Eurovision Phenomenon’, 2013, Queensland University of Technology, http://snurb.info/files/2013/Twitter%20as%20a%20Technology%20for%20Audiencing%20and%20Fandom.pdf

Macleod, Ishbel, ‘Infographic: How Eurovision happened on Twitter’, 12/5/14, http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/05/12/infographic-how-eurovision-happened-twitter

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