Well here it is people, off we go again! The alleged ‘summer’ is now well and truly upon us, meaning it’s time for the cream of international tennis to hit that 60g piece of round, florescent rubber back and forth. All of this against the backdrop of strawberries, cream and general Great Britishness we know and love!
Yes I am, of course, referring to Wimbledon; the only Tennis major that is still played on grass and one that dates back over 130 years. Most of us are used to this occurrence by now, even if – like me – you’re always a little surprised when it comes around again! Today, thousands – if not millions – will tune in to watch Andy Murray and co. lock horns yet again in what looks to be an extremely competitive tournament.
But I wanted to look at this very briefly from a digital perspective. Because, as a proud, self-proclaimed and massive geek, I find it absolutely incredible just how accessible and interactive Wimbledon is set to be this time around…
Engagement and the invitation of a user or group to have an opinion then share their experiences is essential in the online space. So, being seen to offer multiple channels with which to facilitate this engagement is an essential part of today’s web experience. This last point is the one I am going to focus on in the rest of this post.
A quick visit to the Wimbledon website will demonstrate to you very quickly the diversity of opportunities that are now available to users with which to interact and engage with not only the site but one another as well.
- Live Blogging
- Blog Posts
- Social Media outlets
- Email Newsletters
- Mobile Apps
And more! There really is an expanse of options available with which to find out more about the day’s goings on at Wimbledon and the tournament in general, provided you look around for just a few minutes.
The Live blogs section is brilliant, offering not only a sneak preview as to whats going on at the grounds, but also the option to share them, post photos, contact the news desk directly and read tweets / messages from other users. The Wimbledon website is more interactive than ever before and because of this, you find yourself very quickly being drawn into an immersive and highly rewarding internet experience that would – without a doubt – encourage return visits.
I suppose what I find the most interesting about the screenshot above is that there is no traditional headline before the first blog entry, but rather a comment in relation to JW Tsonga that has been emailed in by a French fan. This comment has had 25 re-tweets, 4 G+ shares and 12 Likes. On first glance, you might say… ‘So?’, but let’s analyse what that means for the website as opposed to the user who sent in the email…
- Engagement is up, as other users will be responding to a statement made by a person and not the site owners themselves.
- Each person that shares (RT’s, Likes, G+ etc.) will be advertising the brand – promoting any discussions the user is involved in and actively pulling other users to the site, by inviting them into said discussions etc.
- Each comment, article or post that is left on the site can be promoted across a number of other platforms all designed to increase reach. Youtube, G+, Facebook and Twitter are just the start! On top of that you still have the likes of Pinterest and Instagram doing their bit for the ‘image’ driven social media platforms.
Today more than ever, image-driven media is being shared across multiple platforms, networks and websites. So, bringing us news, events, goings on and the latest gossip from all over the world and Wimbledon is no different. Why should it be? As www.trendreports.com’s Katherine Vong quite rightly points out here: http://www.trendreports.com/article/imagebased-social-media, the social media express is now very much under the command of the visual…
‘Pinterest is the fastest growing social network today, and Instagram has grown to 40 million users worldwide in just two years. Other image-based platforms are also coming to the fore, such as Mobli, which takes inspiration from Instagram but describes itself as a visual engine that enables users to see a “360-degree view” what other people are doing around the world in various places and times. Even Facebook launched its own version of Pinterest with its ‘PinView’ app, which allows users to see their Facebook Timelines in a pinboard-style format’.
So in short, when you have a product, service, tournament, show etc. (which includes celebrities, sportspersons and the visually engaging content in general) offering your audience ways to instantaneously snap, share and discuss is imperative. Thus, it’s also proving to be altogether successful industry-wide.
Going one step further and dedicating the time to create areas within your site that will not only facilitate but encourage sharing and discussion is the future of the web. I, for one, will be locked on to the Wimbledon site for the upcoming tournament, throwing in my two pennies-worth and getting involved in the discussion wherever I can! The web and how we use it to both share and collect information is an ever-evolving process. I believe that this evolution is for the best and sites like wimbledon.com are improving the overall experience for everyone. So this year, even if you are not into this side of the web and prefer to remain a passive reader, try commenting on a few things. You might find the responses interesting, useful and – most importantly – you might just like it!
The Wimbledon site has shown a unique and brilliant approach to sharing content. It promises to offer users, the site and fans of tennis/Wimbledon in general the most enriching, comprehensive and interactive tournament to date!
Now… ‘Come on ANDY!’