Back in 2006, there were at least a few million blogs. And I was one of the few people in my blog friend circle blogging about the World Cup then.
Back then, there was a big chance of getting your blog noticed through blog conglomerate sites. But soon, feed aggregators and social media killed such sites. Mutiny.in died and very recently we saw the sad closure of desipundit.com. Blogbharti.com is still barely hanging on. We have passed the era of people compiling the best blog posts manually because there are now too darn many. UGC (User Generated Content) are now the IN thing, with portals like blogadda, indiblogger etc. trying to form the new breed of bloggers’ destination here in India.
That is why this World Cup is so different from the others. This World Cup has been branded as the first Social Media powered World Cup.
Back in 1998, many of us still didn’t know what the internet was. In 2002, the most we had were websites for the qualifying teams, with info about them in basic HTML. Everything was as static as our browsers would permit it to be. 2006 too didn’t see such a great change either. Social networking sites offered a bit of interactivity through discussion topics, and there were of course blogs. In India, Facebook hadn’t really entered the market then, and it was just blueish boring fraaand Orkut group discussions for us (and a few of those on Myspace with epileptic background designs).
Now comes 2010 World Cup. Everything has changed drastically. From live podcasting and Facebook to twitter updates and other social media tools, one can get information about any match anywhere. There are hundreds of sites live streaming the matches. Discussions are highly interactive and access is not limited to your computer or laptop alone - Mobile technology has advanced multifold. Foursquare and other GPS location based SNS have also moved in… I can actually chat with my favorite player from Netherlands through twitter just before he runs into the ground to start the game while I am still sitting in the loo (provided he replies to my tweet of course).
Even television has improved (It still feels like yesterday watching the World Cup in our cranky old black and white television with a bunch of people adjusting the TV antennae on the roof to get better reception). Now we can watch the slow motion replay in High Definition, but the amount social media has advanced is incomparable to television, print, radio or any other media. Remember the popular 80’s song “Video killed the radio star”? Yeah, Internet killed that video star who killed the radio star.
2014 World Cup will be in 3D, according to many tech pundits. A few years ago I might have said bull $hit, but now I totally believe it is possible. And I can even vouch that Augmented Reality will play a huge role, with virtual 3D matches playing right in front of your computer using this technology.
See the pace we are moving at my friends?
Well, I don’t want to put such a heavy burden on your head, especially if you’re an old timer like me comfortable with how the world is/was, and finding it difficult to keep up with technology. So I will leave this subject and talk a little bit about the World Cup matches so far
Today, my team Netherlands won. Robben played for the first time and scored an AMAZING goal.
We will meet the winner of Brazil and Chile match that’s going on right now. Yesterday there were two matches. And that’s what I want to talk about.
Both matches were controversial. Lampard’s goal against Germany was denied even though it was clearly in, and Tevez’s goal against Mexico was clearly an offside.
So many people were whining about the match and suggesting that video replay technology should be brought in, à la tennis or cricket.
I say HELL NO!!!
Yeah even I was pissed off because I was supporting Mexico in that match. But you know what? THIS IS FOOTBALL. Bring in technology and you kill the very essence of football. So many times I have seen my team Arsenal go down due to bad calls by the ref. But then, that’s the game.
You may call me a FOOTALIBAN if you wish. I don’t care. I do not want things to change. Let technological improvement be a benefit for the viewers, but for the love of God, please do not change the game. Referee errors have always been a part of the game, and it should always be that way.
Plus it gives us more things to talk about at football discussion forums. The best part of any football discussion especially with our friends (who are rival fans), is the wrong call referees make. There is always something to talk about. If everything is going to be checked using technology like a third umpire and all the freaking claims are 100% correct and fair, then WTF do we talk about with our friends then?
“Urrrmmm dude, you guys played well.”
“Yeah… errmmm… thanx. Your goalkeeper wasn’t bad either.”
“So did you see the other match after that?”
“Yeah dude. Nice game. Very fair.”
“So… ermmm… will you be watching next week’s match?”
“Yup… it will be a good and fair match.”
“Ok bye dude. I’m gonna go home and chop off my manhood”
“Cool. Me too.”
But throw in a couple of controversial referee decisions or fouls, handballs, offsides etc that the referee didn’t see, and you will have the greatest conversation possible with your friends “Arrrgghhhh”, “Noooooo”, “F@$& dude, that was soooo unfair”, “No b@stard, that was a clear offside!!!”, “Godddd I love this game so muchhh, I will never chop off my manhood.”
See the difference? The moment you freaking make football like a tennis or cricket match, I will stop watching it completely.
Here’s to Netherlands winning in the many rounds to come. Hup Holland Hup!