Wimbledon 2014 goes social in a big way

Wimbledon’s got tons going on online this year, encouraging us to interact and discuss the tennis tournament over Twitter. Here’s how to get involved.

Still reeling from England's defeat in the World Cup? We're hoping for a consolation prize tonight, but so far, this summer hasn't exactly been a triumph for British sport.

Still, at least we've got Wimbledon, and this year, it's accompanied by tons of ways to get involved with it online and through social media.

Throughout the tournament, tweets, pictures, polls and other user-generated content will be beamed onto the big screens on Henman Hill. People actually present at Wimbledon will be encouraged to stop singing Cliff Richard songs and scoffing strawberries long enough to answer questions about the match (I've never been to Wimbledon - can you tell?). These will then be compared to answers from the folks watching at home - it will be interesting to see how the viewpoints differ.

The idea is that setting a theme will get conversations flowing on Twitter. Alexandra Willis, the content and communications manager at Wimbledon explains the concept: "For example, you could ask a specific question like, 'Who has a better forehand, Andy Murray or Rafa Nadal?' and use the output you get from that to say 62% of people on the Hill think Andy Murray's forehand is better than Rafa's, but actually 80% of people elsewhere in the world think Rafa's is better."

There's tons more social gubbins going on too. There's a new official Twitter campaign in support of last year's champ Andy Murray, for example. If you tweet @Wimbledon a message with the hashtag #WelcomeBackAndy you'll get sent one of five photos with a personalised message. An automatically generated personalised message. Which isn't very actually personal then, but still fun.

Here's what we got. Not sure what's going on with Andy Murray's pocket. Perhaps he's just pleased to see us.

And yet, there's more. A 'Twitter Mirror' lets people in the Wimbledon queue pose for photos and take part in a selfie competition for prizes. Presumably tennis-themed ones.

For those of you stuck at home, or in the office, live replays will be posted on Twitter, including the best action from Centre Court, players celebrating and crowd reactions.

All these social media shenanigans are coming from a Social Command Centre, which will constantly analyse posts, tweets and other data to pick out trending topics and other insights. It will also look at what courts people are talking about, where tweets are coming from and other such information, to make sure people are getting the information they want.

It all sounds like a lot of fun, but perhaps alarm bells are ringing for some of you. Surely this could distract from the tennis - it would be awful if Andy Murray was distracted by some gurning big screen selfie right in the middle of the game, right?

Well, relax. They're keeping everything away from the courts. As Willis says: "We at Wimbledon wouldn't want to put screens around Centre Court, displaying tweets and doing that sort of thing, because when someone is on Centre Court it's sacred ground and they are there to watch the tennis,"

Well that's a relief then.

Are you tweeting along with Wimbledon? Let us know in the comments!

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