Last year FIFA.com took its first steps into the vast arena that is micro-blogging social network Twitter, and fewer than 12 months later were a proud to have celebrated attracting more than 500,000 followers to the @FIFAcom account.

Started ahead of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ last year, early subscribers were greeted on 8 June with the inaugural opening tweet. By 21 May the moment came when @FIFAcom broke the landmark figure, and the users who chose to follow us that day clearly had a sentimental streak to them – it was FIFA’s 107th birthday.

This means it took just 348 days from the first tweet to reach the half-million mark. That works out at more than 1,400 new followers a day – that’s almost one a minute!

Providing regular updates and links to all the latest FIFA.com content, including breaking news, interviews and features, the account has served fans of football amongst Twitter’s community of more than 100m users.

Plenty to choose
This runs alongside some of our more specific accounts such as @SeppBlatter, which follows the activities of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, as well as those covering the action at various FIFA tournaments. The current FIFA Women’s World Cup and FIFA U-17 World Cups can be followed closely at @fifawwc and @fifau17, while the FIFA U-20 World Cup later this year can be tracked at @fifau20.

To celebrate the occasion of making it halfway to a million subscribers, FIFA.com ran a secret competition whereby the 500,000 follower would win a special prize – a Jabulani ball signed by Brazilian legend Pele. The lucky winner was Twitter user @LinkGooding from the UK.

The young Liverpool fan described his disbelief at finding out he’d won the prize. He said: “At first I was unsure at whether the messages I had received were real. But after a few hours, and many re-reads of the emails I’d got, it finally dawned on me I was soon to be the owner of a ball signed by one of the greatest players of all time.

“As a football fan there aren't many things that compare to winning something signed by Pele, even touching something someone legendary has touched is a great feeling – I recently toured Wembley and touched the FA Cup. All I can say is this prize certainly beats a gift voucher!”

Stroke of luck
He was even more fortunate than most in winning the competition, with a chance encounter with the account seeing the Reds supporter take away the exciting prize. “I was quite lucky as I had just joined Twitter and, as a Liverpool fan, I began following Lucas Leiva. Seeing that he followed @FIFAcom as well I thought I'd have a look and have followed ever since.”

However, since signing up he has seen the benefits of his choice, beyond simply his one-of-a-kind 2010 FIFA World Cup™ ball. “I probably follow the FIFA twitter-feed more closely than most, as I check it very regularly for transfer updates,” he said. “I would definitely recommend it to anyone whose family aren’t keen on them having sports news on all day.”

FIFA will continue to keep all football fans on Twitter abreast of the latest, breaking news and intrigued with our regular interviews with some of the game’s biggest stars. Let’s hope this time next year we have reached seven figures and are celebrating our 1,000,000th avid football-follower.