Tim Tebow Is a Social-Media God (So to Speak)

Bluefin Labs Data Tracks the Star Quarterback's Astonishing Footprint on Twitter and Beyond

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Tim Tebow for Jockey
Tim Tebow for Jockey

Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow ... Tebow!

That's the internet speaking, not me. Twitter and Facebook and other parts of the social web can't seem to shut up about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow -- for lots of reasons, including his astonishing performance on the field lately, his ostentatious religiosity (which of course inspired the whole Tebowing meme), his potential status as the sports-endorsement world's next $10 million man, his shirtless Jockey underwear ad, and on and on. (If you're feeling a little Tebow illiterate, Gawker's "Non Sports Fan's Guide to Tim Tebow" is helpful. Posted Wednesday, it's already gotten more than 100,000 page views.)

Just how big is Tim Tebow in social media? Ad Age worked with our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, the Cambridge-Mass.-based social-TV analytics company, to take a look at Tebow-related chatter just surrounding his latest star-turn on the field during the AFC Wild-Card Game (Broncos vs. Steelers) that aired on CBS this past Sunday.

Some notes and context:

  • First, some notes on the Broncos-Steelers game itself. The total number of social-media comments (primarily on Twitter and public Facebook updates) surrounding the game, as monitored by Bluefin Labs: 2,137,220. In terms of social buzz, that makes it the largest single sporting event since January 2011, according to Bluefin's Tom Thai -- even bigger than last year's Super Bowl.
  • The average number of social-media comments for an NFL game on CBS is 107,637 (that includes all regular season and playoff games in the 2011/2012 season). The average number of social-media comments for an NFL wild-card game -- based on the four games last weekend -- is 788,050.
  • Social-media comments pertaining to Tim Tebow during the AFC Wild-Card Game numbered 1,162,546 -- an amazing 54% of the total comments for the game.
  • We asked Bluefin to do a breakdown of the substance of the most commonly made social-media comments about Tebow. A full 16% of tweets about him regarding the game used the phrase "Tebow Time " -- particularly at 8:07 p.m., when Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown in overtime to end the game. The second-most popular theme (with 15% of the overall volume): People hating on Tebow.
  • It's worth noting that sometimes Tebow hatred comes with a caveat. For instance, @chelsylalama: "Tebow I hate you but your eyes are gorgeous."
  • You can always count on the Twittersphere to be self-absorbed even when it's technically obsessing about something external to Twitter. Case in point: Fully 6% of Tebow-related tweets Sunday night were about how much chatter there was about Tebow on Twitter (e.g., @MikeBBonner: "Twitter. Is. Gonn. Break. #timtebow").
  • See the "316 Passing Yards; John 3:16" label in our pie-chart? Some 3% of social-media comments were about the eeriness of Tebow's passing statistics. He threw for 316 yards for 10 completions (31.6 yards per completion), matching the numbers of the famous biblical verse John 3:16, which Tebow has previously written on his eye black. For example, @brifig: "sooo #timtebow threw 316 yards. john 3:16..... #Godisonhisside"

Stay tuned to AdAge.com for more data from Bluefin Labs.

For more about Bluefin, visit their website.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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