Is The Relationship Between Footballers and Twitter Coming to An End?

The John Terry trial provides further evidence of the way that social media has penetrated every form of news coverage and the integral role it can play in the distribution of information.

Reporters such as Dan Levene, or as he is known on Twitter @blueschronicle, have been providing minute-by-minute accounts of this week’s trial giving people comprehensive and instant coverage of the case.

As a blogger, access to eyewitness accounts of events in real time is a monumental development that allows us to put our thoughts into writing instantaneously without the risk of accidently rehashing the usual primary source of information —the journalists with their traditional methods of collecting news.

As a fan, Twitter gives us access to players, clubs and journalists that was unthinkable even 10 years ago.

Role of Players on Twitter

The players on Twitter offer an insight into the mind of a professional, reminding us that they are human and not necessarily as perfect as we would like to think.

There is a lot of egotism on Twitter. The players of the big clubs instantly rack up hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of followers, giving them a platform to promote themselves and boost their self-esteem.

Players such as Joey Barton and Rio Ferdinand may have grabbed the headlines in this way but they don’t hold that much interest. In my view, it is the younger players and more reserved pros where the insight and interest lies.

Some professionals still treat Twitter as a personal rather than marketing account, posting messages about every aspect of their daily lives including the football they play and watch.

The messages they post give us a perspective on their daily routine, the training pitch banter and their footballing acumen, on occasion providing unprecedented insight into a previously elusive mind-set.

This access however has come at a cost; some footballers are not especially intelligent in the messages they post to the public domain, offending their employers or sections of society.

The Trolls

Twitter is a democratic tool; anyone can use it to direct a message at another user. That means that for every message of support, there are a handful of trolls to counterbalance it with a negative comment.

Internet trolls thrive on negativity and attention — something that footballers provide in equal measure. They have driven many current and former pros away from using Twitter, and risk ruining a democratic and inclusive media.

Whilst Twitter should not just be a fan club extension for players, the emotive and tribalistic nature of football means that players find themselves abused without logic. This abuse frequently goes beyond the realms of acceptable behavior both on- and off-line.

Therefore we sit at a crossroads that is changing. I think we have already seen fewer footballers engaging in Twitter. And when they do, it is sometimes commonplace for this to be carefully structured marketing.

End of The Twitter Golden Age

Whilst the access to information is instant on the web, the trolls are winning and the golden age of Twitter for football fans is coming to an end.

This will mean that the role of journalists as the distributors of information will be slowly restored as the first-hand access to information dwindles for the man on the street.

This would be a crying shame.

About the author: (@famous_CFC) is a Chelsea fan blog written by match-going Chelsea fans.

6 thoughts on “Is The Relationship Between Footballers and Twitter Coming to An End?”

  1. again you are a chelsea fan so your opinion on this issue is very much biased. There are trolls everywhere.

    being on twitter is choice. If players wants to give fans access to them then they accept the positive and negatives of being on twitter.

  2. This is a non-issue. Why does everyone take these adult babies seriously? Lets be honest here, professional footballers are athletes, not scholars. Who cares what they say? Watch them kick a ball around and leave it at that. Try to be less like TMZ and it won’t bother you. All too often we here about people being “up in arms” about something said. Is anyone truly every up in arms, or even offended to the point of it affecting their life?

    The trial of JT is a mockery of their justice system. Throwing bananas onto the pitch and other physical behavior is one thing, but what goes on between players during a game is part of the game. Are they going to start charging players with assault for bad tackles?

  3. The article and comments here are somewhat confusing. The JT case has little to do with Twitter other than the real time coverage so I don’t see any Chelsea bias.

    You cannot DIRECT MESSAGE anyone on Twitter only people who follow you and you them, very few of these popular footballers follow other people. You can of course tag them but they don’t have to see or read that.

    The article is accurate and interesting enough but I don’t see how this leads to a conclusion that (a) there ever was a golden age (b) it’s coming to an end. Very few footballers have generated much in the way of interesting tweets and I’m not seeing any pullback. Barton is fun but ultimately boring, Ferdinand is just promoting his brand. I simply can’t remember reading an interesting or revealing tweet from a footballer.

  4. Instead of treating footballers as footballers too many treat them as if they were more. We should not be surprised that these overpaid prima donnas can be scums and it doesn’t help when supporters deny it.

  5. I wouldn’t call the people who write negative comments on twitter “trolls”. They’re just people using twitter to publish their comments to people who follow them or who they follow.

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