The Guardian online steals my time. While their award-winning news coverage, investigative features and breathtaking dedication to SEO often merit a couple of clicks, it’s their most recent application – the Guardian Chalkboards tool – which has been filling my spare time over recent weeks.
An innovative piece of software for every budding Alan Hanson, the Chalkboard system allows users to compare data from football games. Wait, it gets more interesting. Containing detailed records of every single Premiership game in the last three years, the application allows users to compare every shot, tackle, and cross for every single player.
Cleanly displayed on a green chalkboard, users can compare games, players and tactics. It’s incredibly detailed. And, much to the chagrin of my employer, annoyingly addictive. Here, I compared Wayne Rooney’s pass rate for two different games versus Chelsea.
For those with an unhealthy interest in the beautiful game, it’s a modern marvel. More interestingly though, the Guardian have cleverly thrown a bit of social networking into the mix. While the media giant already has an impressive online community, Chalkboard promises to attract more users to the site through its interactive and sharp-focused content.
Managers-to-be can post their chalkboards online – through Digg, Facebook et al - while other users can comment on posts in your tactical back catalogue (you can save any chalkboard on your user page). If you craft a chalkboard demonstrating the technical prowess of Paul Scholes over Frank Lampard, it’s quite likely that another user is going to call you on it.
The site inspires debate and calls for users to get involved. The application offers a wide scope for discussion and user interaction. There’s also the chance of your chalkboard going viral if it’s particularly amusing or controversial. It’s a social networkers dream.
All this is good news for The Guardian; a site which is light years ahead of its daily competitors in the SEO race. Still, there’s time yet for The Times and their ilk to catch up. Meanwhile, there are more than enough fixtures on Chalkboard to tide us over for the time being.