How social media is engaging with the football world
In the summer of 2003, Real Madrid unveiled their ‘signing of the season’ in the club’s basketball stadium in front of 500 journalists from 25 countries. Dubbed as the ‘first celebrity footballer’, David Beckham joined a host of stars at the Bernabeu.
Since then, transfer sagas have been more or less the same. The player’s future is often unsettled by speculation before his agent releases mandatory bland statements such as; ‘He is 100% committed to the current club’, only for the footballer to pose with the jersey of a new side.
While the theme has remained unchanged even today, the way clubs are announcing their signings has changed forever, especially with the advent of social media in our lives. Aston Villa made headlines last summer for signing former Chelsea and England skipper John Terry.
If the acquisition itself did not grab them enough eyeballs, their uniquely dramatised WhatsApp conversation between Steve Bruce and club chairman Tony Xia certainly amused most fans. Similarly, Liverpool made Mohamed Salah scroll through their Twitter feed before ‘announcing’ his arrival.
Given equal importance as the sport itself is EA Sports’ life-like video game FIFA which has become highly influential in the world of football. Italian giants Roma made their new signing Lorenzo Pellegrini play as himself in an AS Roma shirt to confirm that he had joined the club.
All these examples point to one thing; the fashion in which new signings are announced is now as significant as the signing itself, let alone his performances on the field.
Twitter’s star footballer
When Yellow Journalism was at its peak during the nineties and early noughties, it was the players’ social lives and extra marital affairs that made headlines. However, over the last five years or so, journalism has gone for a toss completely.
Irrelevant tweets from players have made the headlines these days. Take for instance Chelsea’s second striker Michy Batshuayi, who has 1.1 million followers on twitter. This is more than the followers of Diego Costa, who powered Chelsea to their last two Premier League titles.
Does this mean that Batshuayi has more than the talent of Costa? Absolutely not! There are more chances of it being the other way around. In hindsight, Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has only 200K more followers than Batshuayi.
Does this mean Michy is on his way to become a club legend? It’s highly unlikely. The only reason the Belgian commands such a huge following is because of his candid and engaging tweets.
Batshuayi’s case is quite similar to Mario Balotelli’s time in Manchester where his tweets were scrutinized by the English media.
Speaking of Twitter diarrhea, everyone is aware of Joey Barton and his opinionated tweets…the less said about it, the better.http://www.mediareferee.com/2018/04/12/how-social-media-is-engaging-with-the-football-world/Post
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