Every 4 years the world comes together for a very much anticipated event called “World Cup”.  What makes this year very different from all other World Cups throughout history, is the access the world now has to social media and how it brings fans from all over the world closer than ever. Soccer fans have never been shy about expressing their opinions, but this year’s World Cup in South Africa, which will be the first of the “social media age” according to many, may see record levels of global interactivity compared to any past event. “Soccer (or Football known around the world) is the world’s biggest sport, so the world will practically stop for the month of the World Cup (June 11- July 11).

Social media now connects millions around the world, 50 million tweets are sent daily while Facebook boasts more than 400 million active users, a development that will allow fans separated by distance to celebrate goals or critique referee decisions together online. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were in their infancy in 2006, when the last World Cup took place in Germany, but have since exploded in popularity and continue to further grow.  There will be more media consumed, used and published in 2010 than in 2006. Social media brings fans closer together and give them the opportunity to communicate with each other.  FIFA has its own social-networking service on FIFA.com — called “The Club” — which has 1.6 million members, but the organization is about to make a bigger push into social media. Facebook will be launching  “Facebook Connect”, which allows Web sites to be shared on Facebook, which will be incorporated into FIFA.com and FIFA plans to launch official Twitter accounts for the World Cup too.

During the last few days of the tournament, World Cup discussion is more than likely going to take over Twitter. So far, many fans have been using the Twitter tag#WC2010 when they tweet about the World Cup. Although Twitter is based in the U.S., where soccer is not as popular as other parts of the world, the service is seeing its fastest growth outside of America as noticed by analyst. Twitter service is now available in six languages, there are plans to add more, and a recent report found that only half of all tweets are in English. Twitter is also striking deals with mobile providers in other countries so that it is free for subscribers to send and receive tweets on their phones. Within minutes of the World Cup starting, thousands and thousands of uploads are expected about the World Cup.  In 2006, after French player Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi of Italy, hundreds of videos parodying the play were posted on YouTube. Some videos placed Zidane in a video game while others showed him in well-known movie scenes.   YouTube’s popularity has surged since 2006 thanks in part to the advent of inexpensive video cameras and cell phones that can record and instantly upload video to the Web.  Many more mashups and parodies during this 2010 World Cup are expected to go up. There will be no limit to the uses and creativity that emerge around this upcoming World Cup and the way it brings the world together for an entire month.