The Daily Telegraph has announced that a social networking platform will be put on their website specifically for followers during the Rugby World Cup tournament. This site will allow fans and experts to blog, upload their own photos and videos and share with their community their experiences of the tournament; an almost mini Facebook if you will for the avid rugby fan. As well as this there will be all the usual latest news and analysis from its journalists and columnists.
This is a great idea and builds on the fantastic message boards of BBC 606 and Planet Rugby that I believe led the way in initially getting people online to discuss their theories and share their biases regarding rugby. I definitely think that stuff.co.nz and the nzherald.co.nz could get more interactive with their rugby fans. Although both websites have excellent coverage of rugby (as one would expect in New Zealand) they both lack a chance for fans to really network.
I was surprised in particular when Stuff launched their new rugbyheaven site recently. Although it is a good site, I really did think that with the Web 2.0 tools in place it was possible to make this site something really special for the fans. Even one message board of some description or at least a fanzine corner like the one on the All Blacks website where fans can submit their own articles and partake in an open, interactive forum would make this site so much better. Instead we have opinions from the experts and no female writers whatsoever. So all in all I think they still have a bit of catching up to do when compared with our British counterparts.