Challenge Accepted

By Chelsea Riffe

So, I love Twitter. When I first got my account, I couldn’t say the same thing. I didn’t love it because there were no pictures. Lining it up next to Pinterest and Facebook was almost laughable. A 140-character limit seemed like a joke, and the options of commenting, retweeting, and favoriting just seemed overwhelming. It was during one of my undergrad classes where a professor made a comment of Twitter’s true purpose: it’s a newsfeed. He said it’s a quick way for you to scroll through and get the day’s news, not a place to update everyone on your life, like Facebook and Instagram seemed to do. That made a lot of sense to me. Also, after seeing how many stupid things people post on Facebook, I was getting fed up. Twitter forced me, and its users, to be clever, witty and intelligent, (if you actually wanted to gauge people’s interest). I liked that challenge. What could I say to people in 140 characters or less, while still maintaining a solid following and not be annoying?

That question I had to ask myself is what many digital marketers have to ask themselves today. What headlines will immediately capture the audience’s eye? How can we make a link effective? How do we leave room for a campaign hashtag? These are questions that many people never thought they would have to think about. Since Twitter is emerging as a main source of information, it’s no secret that the social platform is where sports fans are turning for quick sports stats and updates. Who hit the homerun? Who hit the buzzer-beater? Who’s playing in the starting line-up? Practically every major sports team has a Twitter handle, and if not… they must be living under a rock. One headline on Twitter that recently caught my eye regarding the World Cup read “Brazil Challenges Mexico on Twitter”. I had to read more.


After I read the full article, I found out that Brazil’s FA account challenged Mexico’s, to see which country could gain more followers before their match-up. Mexico happily accepted.


The teams had a few more exchanges, with Brazil offering a prize from both teams.


Both countries had a huge Twitter conversation going on between its residents. It seems like these days, sports teams with a Twitter handle love to have a little fun with their accounts. In fact, Twitter, yet again, was the main social outlet that had all countries excited about another World Cup “Twitter party”. It announced the return of hashflags. Yes, you read correctly. Hashflag. It’s a hashtag with an emoji flag. Shakira, who somehow always seems to be the voice of the World Cup, was one of the first celebrities to participate in the hashflag mania.


How did this platform, that I once was very skeptical about, become what it is today? According to a recent survey that surveyed media members, “eighty-nine percent of survey respondents reported checking Twitter at least every 5-10 minutes while working; eighty percent said they have Twitter ‘always open’” (para. 4). This obsession and 24/7 news cycle has people addicted. Why wait for the morning paper to arrive at your doorstep when you can just check your Twitter and find an update in seconds? This obsession is also causing somewhat of a downfall in the quality of journalism, which is a whole separate topic. So now I want you all to chime in, where do you get your main source of news? And do you participate in “Twitter parties” like the World Cup is currently encouraging? I know I’ll be rooting for the USA via Twitter!


Duffy, T. (2014, June 5). Twitter: Sports media’s useful, entertaining and unhealthy obsession. The Big Lead. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from

Magdaleno, A. (2014, June 11). Raise your ‘hashflags’: twitter reintroduces World Cup hashtags. Mashable. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from

Soccer. (2014, June 15). Brazilian FA’s twitter account challenges the Mexican FA’s twitter account to a bet (have more followers before the match). Mexico responds. Retrieved June 16, 2014, from

5 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted

  1. The country flags for the World Cup are the coolest things. Twitter is a great platform for something like the World Cup. You can trash talk, check scores, link to articles, and not miss what else is going on in the world.


  2. This is interesting. I am interning at an ad agency and Twitter and FB are the number one social networking sites. I was also skeptical of Twitter. I didn’t join until years later. Ironically after graduating from undergrad, I had not been as active. It is interesting how Twitter as my boss calls it, is a headline timeline. Only the interesting or most controversial or humorous ones get the most attention. If used properly it can be a great tool. Its cool how it was used here for the World Cup!


  3. The hashflags are awesome! 😀
    You mentioned how Twitter to you is more a news-feed of the world’s daily news than a way to keep up with your friends cats posts; do you know that this question was at the very heart of Twitter’s co-founders disagreement since its creation? Nick Bilton, a tech journalist in the NY Times, wrote about it in his book: “Hatching Twitter”. It’s a very interesting read; I couldn’t put it down before finishing it. I strongly recommend it!


  4. Love the hashflag idea as well! I had my twitter account when I was a freshman, 7 years ago. I had it because my professor just forced me and all of my classmates to create an account. He said it was going to change the way we update news. I wasn’t sure if he was true, but now I agree that Twitter becomes a powerful news source.

    Twitter for me is the traffic updating tool. Bangkok’s traffic is really bad and Twitter saved my ass for many times to go to school, work, or meeting on time.


  5. Your post made me think about my first approach on Twitter. It happened three years ago when I realized that a new social platform was capturing new attention. I had not a Facebook account but I decided to start a new social network life opening a Twitter one. As soon as I sing up I realized, as you write in your post, that it was a newsstand. As former press agency reporter I found that Twitter was and I still believe it is the cheapest way to get updated news. My usage from then to now is limited to this: just reading news and not participate in any conversation.


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