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World Cup 2.0(10) - the Social Media tournament PDF Print E-mail

A week in to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and we've yet to see a stand-out game; a game with thrills, spills and excitement. What we have witnessed are cagey matches, thousands of vuvuzelas being blown, and, of course, the odd goalkeeping error.

We've been able to keep up-to-date with the biggest spectacle in the world through a variety of communications, offline and online. It's virtually the first 'Social Media World Cup'.

As well as on your television, be it LED, LCD, plasma, 4x3, 16x9, you can even watch games from your computer (as long as you're in the UK) - a God send for any fan who works during a lunchtime or afternoon kick-off, but a pain in the ass for employers! 

The BBC and ITV, who hold rights to broadcast the World Cup, each have their own micro sites devoted to the spectacle. It's all about interaction, reaction, being part of it, telling everyone 'what YOU think', and all the rest of the monotonous rhetoric. So, if you want to know what Dave from Hull thought about that New Zealand performance, here's your chance.

Having tested both the BBC and ITV websites out to watch games, I've been impressed with the look and 'feel' of the ITV version (they've come a long way online), but they're also on the wrong end of my biggest gripe in that you have to go through a speed test first before you can get in to watch the action, which is also a click too many away. The player itself is clean and the chat box to the right is a nice touch as is the highlights option which is clipped throughout the live game and presented as catch-up. See what you think here.

As for the BBC's offering, it's pretty much what you'd expect give the resources they have on offer in comparison with ITV. They go 'all out' with blogs, frequent tweets from reporters, special columnists, audio, match reports, forums, video highlights and so on. The games are presented in their tried-and-tested player, which has been around a number of years now, and the picture quality is excellent, if the commentary isn't. You can view their offering here.

There's no escaping the involvement element for this year's World Cup. Just take a look at this blog from the BBC's Phil McNulty which has received 700 comments and counting less than 24 hours after England drew 0-0 with Algeria. McNulty is a 360° journalist, meaning as well as writing match reports and comment he also loves his Facebook and Twitter account - @philmcnulty - which has over 18,500 followers. 

Being 'involved' in this World Cup doesn't feel new. The 2008 Olympics had a similar recipe from the BBC, but ITV had no involvement then. Something tells me when the World Cup goes to Brazil in four years time watching live games online and tweeting will all be part-and-parcel of the game along with much more, but for now South Africa claims the first Social Media World Cup.

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