Twitter and Facebook know that hordes of soccer fans will head online to talk about the World Cup this week, and both social networks want to be home to the conversation. They're each rolling out hubs and features dedicated to the World Cup, giving fans easy ways to follow along and show that they're watching.
Hashflags, trending hubs, and match scores
Twitter is even starting right with its sign-up form, giving people who make new accounts the ability to choose their team's flag as their profile image. But the highlight of Twitter's World Cup features is its dedicated timelines, which pull together tweets from major sources on the games.
You'll soon be able to access one major timeline just by looking for #worldcup, and from there, find links to all of the teams' accounts and scoreboards for each game. There are custom timelines for each individual match too, if you want to follow along even more closely. Finally, Twitter's bringing back what it calls Hashflags: when you hashtag a three-letter country code, such as #FRA or #GER, the country's flag will appear as an image right beside it.
Twitter's Vine video-sharing service also has a World Cup hub of its own — much like the Twitter hub, the Vine hub is focusing on videos created on location at the games and content from "key sources" in Brazil throughout the next month. While Vine's focus on video makes this a natural destination, we imagine a lot of World Cup fans will want to see more than six-second clips.
Facebook is taking a fairly similar approach. It's put together a hub called Trending World Cup, which also includes scores and news from the matches and a feed of posts from teams and players. Your own friends' posts will show up in the hub too, which will be accessible straight from Facebook's Trending area on the News Feed. Once the games start, people will be able to post what they're watching too by using the smiley icon that's used for sharing what you're doing.
In addition to the hub, Facebook has also put together an interactive map showing where fans of some of the World Cup's top players come from. The map is fairly simple and seems to be tapping into whoever follows these players' pages on Facebook, but the map lets you break down where those people are coming from by country and by city. Even if you might have guessed which countries like which players the most, it can still be interesting to explore.
Not to be left out, Google is also offering its own resources for keeping up with the World Cup. In addition to the stadium street view features Google announced last week, the company is also launching a special World Cup Google Trends page that will collect the "players, teams, and moments that are capturing the world's attention." Google Now and Google Search have also been tweaked to give quick access to World Cup results for those that want them, as well.
Update, June 11th, 2:45PM ET: This post has been updated to include information on Vine and Google's World Cup hubs.