The double edged sword of social media.

Facebook and Twitter. Social media tools that are now almost ubiquitous. For many they are a great way to connect with likeminded individuals and football fans are no different. I myself have used Twitter to get to know many fellow Spurs fans along with fans of many other clubs who are capable of intelligent debate without sinking to insults. As a blogger it’s also a great way to get blogs out to a wider audience and also to see what other bloggers are up to. I’ve never found Facebook be able to offer much in the way of intelligent debate yet it still has its uses.

One thing has become clear though with the rise of Facebook and Twitter, everyone is now an expert. On everything, especially football. Heaven help you if you happen to have an opinion that differs from one of the many ‘trolls’ who are determined to make their voices heard above all others. Luckily it’s fairly easy to unfollow or block these kinds of people on Twitter, less so on FB, which is why I and many I know just don’t use it as much.

Both sites are at their absolute worst during a match. This is when the abuse hits full flow and anyone who disagrees will likely be hit with tirades littered with expletives. I’m no prude and my Twitter bio even points out that I am a ‘pro swearer’, but even so some of the comments are way below the belt and would make even a battle hardened soldier baulk.

Once you fight your way through all the abuse being hurled around, what you are left with for the most part (there are exceptions to every rule), is some extremely uninformed commentary on the action as it unfolds. Opinions will always vary when it comes to football but checking the average Twitter feed during a game will tell you that a team is playing anything like Barcelona to a boozed up pub team. Players will be turning it on like Messi or sinking like a 50 year old playing his first game since school.

These inconsistencies happen to some extent during conversations down the pub or in your living room with your mates but they are exacerbated on social media sites. There are two main reasons for this happening. Firstly people often exaggerate their character and the way they speak on social media or any internet forum for that matter. Sat behind a keyboard it’s very easy to crank it up to ‘11’ on the dial and be someone you aren’t. There are no recriminations, which is often the reason for the excess abuse. Anyone throwing their weight around, shouting the odds and calling everyone an f***ing c**t in a pub would soon find themselves at best barred, at worst hospitalised.

Reason number two, is probably the one most overlooked. It is extremely difficult to give a match your full attention while you are bashing away at a keyboard every two minutes. You can’t possibly see everything that’s happening when you are checking your timeline or mentions after every tweet to see who is next for your wrath. You are going to miss vital bits of action, or the little moments, where the player you are slating has actually made a great move off the ball. Again, there are exceptions to every rule, but they really are few and far between. Even some of the people I consider the most articulate and intelligent fans can reduce their timeline into a car crash with some of their in game tweets.

From my experience, the most considered opinions are those that are saved and summarised at half time and full time. These are from people who think carefully about what they are going to tweet and make sure they get it right. It’s not always about being able to say ‘I was first’. Something social media users should definitely take heed of.

Follow Stu on Twitter @Studub

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  1. JustASpur says:

    Hmmmm, batting on a little bit of a sticky wicket there Stu. I’m sure it wasn’t your intention but the underlying sentiment of that piece appears to be that if people disagree with your thoughts they’re usually wrong. And worse, they are trolls.
    However, just for the record, some of us who tweet too much during matches have the advantage of the rewind option on our PVRs. Something I adopt fairly often to ensure that what I tweet reflects what is actually happening on the pitch.
    Anyway it’s all food for thought and, as usual, is very well written. Carry on.

    • Studub says:

      Haha. My good man, as I say there are exceptions to every rule. And I certainly didn’t intend for it to mean that it was aimed at people who disagree with me. The abuse hurled around rarely comes my way, but I’ve seen more than enough of it aimed at genuinely nice people for little reason. Thanks for your praise mate.

  2. JustASpur says:

    And I probably reacted to that because so much abuse does come my way (not from you I hasten to add) when all I’ve ever done is try to be rational and balanced and blindly supportive of the team.

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