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DEBATE: Is Social Media enhancing Knee-Jerk reactions and Glory-Hunting among football supporters?

Every week writers from our various Team Blogs debate about topics engulfing the beautiful game, providing their own personal views and opinions. This week, we discuss Social Media and whether it is leading to knee-jerk instant over-the-top reactions and annoying glory-hunting among football supporters.

From calling for a manager’s head to announcing one as a tactical genius, from world-class players to over-rated individuals, title-challenging teams to lucky victories, everyone has an opinion on Social Media. It is fair to say that social media is a hotbed for discussions nowadays. However, you may want to learn how to put link in bio on Instagram in order for your followers to get to see all of your post and opinions in a convenient way! Discussions about football never seem to end on sites like Instagram and Twitter. This can be an advantage for businesses though, as they can use this to make the process of social selling a lot easier, as it is not always easy. If you want to find out more information regarding this, companies such as Salesforce would be a good shout. Social media can play a large part in many industries, so using it to your advantage can make all the difference. People who have a large following on platforms like Instagram are able to catapult their views to a large number of people. If you would like to be in this position then you should go to Buzzoid, which is known to be the #1 place to buy Instagram followers. Some people certainly have more rational views than others. But are these discussion oriented Social Media platforms leading to more knee-jerk reactions and further glory hunting? Miran Saric, Ryan Paton, Sami Faizullah, Vishal Patel, Mark Ooi, Mark Chadwick and Ali-Al Hasan have their say.

Social Media Debate

Miran Saric (The Royal Pages): “Given Gary Lineker’s recent outburst on Twitter, the role of social media in the sporting realm has come into question as platforms such as Twitter have given rise to quick-fire opinions. While this can be a positive, it often leads to an echo chamber effect due like-minded individuals finding each other and perpetuating opinions based on what they just saw. Due to said opinions being repeated, facts often become warped and events become exaggerated, thus often leading to a perpetuation of hyperbole.

Additionally, living in an age of instant gratification, with this being especially magnified through social media, fans and especially neutral observers will congregate around posts of high traffic and will form their opinions and fandom based around what’s popular at the moment. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this among some supporters, die-hard fans of clubs will want to see neutrals invest more time in a club in order to develop a deeper connection as opposed to aggressively retweeting Vines and highlights while masquerading as a lifelong fan of a club or player.

Social media can definitely amplify a sporting conversation and make it a learning experience, but its quick-paced nature is not without its downfalls.” (@therealbozz)

Ryan Paton (Shankly’s Men): “No, I don’t think social media has enhanced these kinds of reactions among our supporters. Social media is just representative of people’s opinions, and people will have always had these kinds of feelings before it existed, it is just that sites like Facebook and Twitter give us a chance to actually see how extreme these reactions are throughout all football supporters. Football has always been such a passionate game that supporters go through an emotional rollercoaster where you either experience extreme highs or sinking lows, so while one week a manager can mastermind a victory and be hailed as a God, the next week they can rest a few players and lose and be considered the ultimate villain, social media just gives people the chance to express this opinion to a wider audience.

This flocking towards teams who are most successful at the time is also a thing that I believe has always existed amongst supporters and social media has just further brought to our attention. If people make a choice to get into football and do not have a deep affinity with a certain club, then it has always been common that they will start supporting the team who is most successful at the time. One of the reasons why Liverpool have such a wide following in places outside of the city is because they were the most successful team in the 70’s and 80’s, and Manchester United have a big following outside of Manchester partly because they were the most successful team of the last two decades.” (@RyanPaton1994)

Sami Faizullah, Chief Editor at Outside of the Boot (Shankly’s Men): “A team that is winning the title one weekend, is in a disaster the very next. A player who’s underrated one weekend, is overrated seven days later. A manager who has won over supporters, has lost the support of those very same individuals a loss or two later. Social Media has made life easier, brought supporters close, made players/clubs more personal in terms of interactions, and it has, as a whole, been an innovative evolution in the realms of the football-sphere, but it has its obvious draw backs.

Knee-jerk reactions and glory hunting has existed much beyond the social media era, but the likes of Twitter have only served to enhance this. Every Tom, Dick & Moron has their opinion, as they’re entitled too; and even if this opinion is completely senseless, all that rational thinkers ask for is a bit of consistency. If a player is ‘shite’ one weekend, let him remain that atleast for a month more and beyond. If a manager is a tactical genius one weekend, let him remain so in your opinion for atleast half the season.

But in the present scenario, consistency, long-term thinking and even loyalty isn’t something that the face paced society is up for. Majority of supporters now are more bothered with ‘banter’. And the annoying bit about banter is that it lives only in the present, only in the current. Banter doesn’t exist with patience. It’s banter that has made most users on social media more bothered with transfers than actual football “Ooh, we signed a player who won X amount of championships for just 10 million, you signed a player who won nothing for 20 million. Loool. Bantz!”. It’s banter that prevents supporters from putting things in perspective.

Social Media can be powerful and useful if used in the right manner. The problem arises with the objectives of the users.” (@SamiFaizullah)

Vishal Patel, Editor at Outside of the Boot (Under the Bridge): “In the time I’ve followed football, the experience of fandom has undergone a sea change. The knee jerk reactions, ready availability of opinion, and constant barrage of information that can attack a person at any given point in time, is simply the accepted lifestyle hazard of most football fans today. Think back a few years, to the pre-Twitter era, and you’ll remember a time when not everyone was either for or against a particular transfer, or completely convinced by or against a particular substitution. Every move didn’t really have to be a match defining, or career changing one. Any regular follower of Twitter, Facebook, or any social network will vouch for the fact that most ‘Tweeple’ are on the edge with respect to almost any move at all in a particular game. The Twitterverse seems to explode with either rage, or elation, or both with the slightest change in fortunes, or the smallest decision that a referee makes.

Frankly, such an outburst isn’t really healthy for anyone, or even justified. The presence of social media, and it’s constant and easy availability seems to allow these volatile elements to expose other, slightly more rational elements of society to their outbursts. All in all, I would probably have to agree with the notion that Social Media has only enhanced, and indeed encouraged knee jerk reactions from the broad base of football fans. (@VishalNPatel7)

Mark Ooi (Cules’ Corner): “I suppose so, given that social media has given us the ability to instantly react to what we see happen in football, be that concerning the teams we support, dislike or are neutral towards. The prevalence of the concept of discretion seems to have been reduced. How many of us have posted tweets that we regretted almost immediately? We are, however, fortunate that we probably won’t suffer significant, if any, consequences as a result of a knee-jerk reaction on social media – such as Mario Balotelli receiving racist abuse after his mocking tweet “Man Utd…. Lol”. I believe that the average fan is still loyal to his/her team, but knee-jerk reactions are increasingly commonplace because that is the easiest thing to do.” (@MarkOoiZW)

Mark Chadwick (Echte Liebe): “Social media causes knee jerk reactions from fans because they can tweet their opinion whenever for whoever to see. The desire to share opinions and argue with others leads to the knee jerk reactions being made instantly; just look at the case of Mesut Özil. If you searched his name and read the tweets, you’d see many armchair tacticians arguing. Glory hunting, however, is only assisted by social media. Tweeting “Go Chelsea” every Saturday doesn’t make you a fan if you won’t take the time to follow the team. You can’t truly enjoy winning if there’s no emotional connection, which is hard to forge from social media. “ (@DortmundUSA)

Ali Al Hasan (The Royal Pages): “I agree. As a Real Madrid fan, it is really easy to see as any decision brings chaos around platforms such as Twitter. I am, in a way, guilty of that as well as many get sucked into the whole debate. Also, glory hunting is becoming more common with all the news and speculations surrounding clubs and players. Social media has hurt the game to a certain extent, in my opinion. But, it’s needed to voice your opinions to the world. It’s a fine line but one that shouldn’t be changed.” (@RMadrid37)

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