With conversations around the world turning towards this summer’s activities in Brazil, Facebook, Twitter and Google have announced how they’ll be keeping fans up to date with all of the latest World Cup news.
First, to Facebook. Their dedicated Trending World Cup hub has been launched and contains the latest scores and highlights from all the games along with a special feed with updates from your Facebook friends. They’ve also added the ability to share that you’re watching a specific match and use this as a link to access the Trending World Cup page. Facebook have included two more questionable additions however, with their interactive map and the Facebook Ref profile. The map is an interactive map which tells you where fans of the network’s top 10 footballers are based. As of now I’ve absolutely no idea what use this will be to World Cup fans as it simply presents you with stats for players. I now know, for example, that Cristiano Ronaldo has 84 million Facebook fans and is the sixth most popular sportsperson in Papa New Guinea. Messi is 143rd. Staggering. Facebook Ref, on the other hand, seems to be an attempt to muscle in on the range of comedy accounts on Twitter that will be commenting on the World Cup. There’s some strange attempts at humour with commenters and jovial updates so far, and it’ll be interesting to see how the experiment pans out. Twitter and Google tend to stay away from actively creating masses of content on their own networks, so it’s a bold move Facebook has made to engage with the people visiting the page.
The search giants are utilising the vast amounts of data at their finger tips to launch a Google Trends page exclusively for the World Cup. The page is crammed full of stats about each game, such as: [quote text_size=”medium”]The Netherlands has shown more search interest in Wesley Sneijder’s wife, Yolanthe Cabau, than in their first opponent Spain.[/quote] There’s more useful information available here than on Facebook’s fan map, and it’s presented beautifully, but it’s elsewhere that Google really comes into its own. Through Street View, users can navigate inside each of the competition’s 12 stadiums and even get a look down some of Brazil’s famous painted streets. They’ve also added indoor maps of the stadiums and local attractions for tourists, which could become an essential tool for travelling fans.
They’ve already published a how-to guide for users wanting to track the World Cup on Twitter, and this week Twitter introduced (and re-introduced) a few new features. Chief among them is the welcome return of the brilliantly named hashflags. By simply tweeting a specific hashtag, in our case #ENG, Twitter embeds that country’s flag immediately after. Special World Cup timelines are also here, with Twitter creating bespoke hashtag pages for each game and the official tournament hashtag. Click on either #WorldCup or #WorldCup2014 for a look at how these are shaping up. There’ll also be game-specific hashtags when the competition properly kicks off. The hashtag pages were only appearing periodically for us though, so hopefully these issues will be ironed out soon. If these do take off, expect to see them offered to advertisers in the future. [hr style=”striped”] It’s certainly set to be a summer of social, and we’re looking forward to tracking all of the World Cup activity over at #digiworldcup.