Has the World Cup strangled the web?

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 27 June 2006

Yesterday I was looking at David Bond's article in The Telegraph, which talked about how technology was changing the way the British print media were covering the 2006 FIFA WOrld Cup.

All this online coverage of the 2006 World Cup and two-way response hasn't been seen as a good thing by everyone. Very early on in the tournament Flic Everett's article "Pundit Country" on The Guardian's Comment is free site was pretty scathing of the internet frenzy around the World Cup.

The World Cup has turned the blogosphere into a virtual stadium full of shouting know-alls.

...

it's impossible to discover anything about the progress of the tournament without tripping over the vast virtual crowd in the cyberspace stadium bellowing its opinions on tactics, Sven, Rooney, the care and upkeep of metatarsals and the inane beaching of Walcott.

If you are a writer who fervently believes that when Sven stumbles across your blog he will finally make that tactical shift you've been suggesting for years, it must feel good to hold power at last; if you're convinced Gary and Alan are scouring the internet, in a desperate bid to identify the next outspoken studio pundit, it may well feel great.

I can't help feeling that those last couple of statements about people hoping to wield tactical power or be discovered as pundits tells us more about Everett's reasons for becoming a journalist than it does about the motivation for people blogging about the World Cup.

Flic goes on to observe:

if you're simply a strolling surfer of blogs, who likes to wander among online chat like some pied troubadour of an ancient court, it's a nightmare. There is no peace on the internet any more. It has become a vast and terrible cacophony of contradictory opinion

He may well have a point here though. The fact that I wrote complaining about how advertisers were shoe-horning football into every TV advert, hasn't stopped me writing about the World Cup, or my trip to Germany, or shoe-horning the history of the World Cup online into this site. Even a usually sober football-free zone like City of Sound has featured some musings on the relationships between design, architecture and football, whilst Diamond Geezer has been sucked in to writing an anti series on avoiding the footie by taking refuge on a remote Scottish island.

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