The World Cup 2010 is exciting for a number of reasons, firstly we all love a good game of footie and pretending that England is in with a chance, secondly because of the wags, they have all been banned this year, ha and lastly because it will unite the world of social media with the masses.
If you think back to the last World Cup 2006 (I know it wasn’t that long ago but many of us spent it in a drunken stupor) the concept of social media was pretty unformed.
In fact most of the things we use daily now, didn’t even exist. We had YouTube but it wasn’t used nearly as much as it is today. Facebook existed but wasn’t open to the general public until that September, and Twitter, well that was just an apple in it’s mother’s (or Jack Dorsey’s) eye.
So, basically it just didn’t really exist. There was no updating your status every time someone scored a goal, no tweet about who played well and definitely no revealing the squad before it was officially announced. It’s not like today where 50 million tweets are sent daily and Facebook boasts more than 400 million active users.
A few days ago the Twittersphere was going crazy. The Football Association’s website crashed due to the number of desperate fans trying to find out the squad. So where did they turn? Twitter to speculate and spy.
The Daily Express’s Matt Law was one of the first to break the news of Walcott’s omission “Walcott out of England World Cup squad,” he tweeted. “Gutted for him.” Naughty naughty, this was before the FA or Fabio Capello had made an official statement. It wasn’t long until other members of the media tweeted about who was in and who was out.
Not a good start for the FA but it clearly shows the way that football commentary for this year is going to go.
CNN recently poitned out that the World Cup is the biggest thing to ever hit Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Every website these days has links to their social media pages, so whenever the World Cup is written about this year, it will lead to major traffic and huge usage of the sites.
The head of new media for FIFA told CNN “Football is the world’s biggest sport, so the world will practically stop for the month of the World Cup. There will be so much more media consumed, used and published in 2010 than in 2006. Social media can bring fans closer together and give fans more opportunity to communicate with each other,”
Robin Sloan, who works for Twitter on media partnership confirmed this saying: “Our notion is that [the World Cup] will eclipse everything we have seen so far [on Twitter] including the U.S. election, the Oscars or the Super Bowl, simply because it is so international.”
And lets not forget it’s won’t only be the fans using social media during the World Cup. It is thought that advertisers will use it for marketing rather than more traditional methods.
Callum MacDougal, the director of global marketing partnerships for Sony Ericsson, the official handset makers of the 2010 finals tells Reuters.com: “We have made the conscious decision to steer away from the traditional branding route… Instead we are going straight to online fan communities through popular social networking channels.”
And if you think about it, why wouldn’t they use it? It’s much cheaper than more traditional advertising, it’s current, it gets the public involved and it is proven to work.
So, those of you who love football and love social media this is a match made in heaven. If you aren’t a big user of social media this may be the time to get involved, especially if you like football because it is bound to be the best way to keep up to date with what is going on and to have your say.
It’s officially the summer of social media and South Africa. Come on England!