Social media has redefined everything popular and unpopular in our times. Football, the most popular sport in the world, was not going to be exempted. Very few issues galvanize social media users as sports and politics, of course music and movies come next. The fun hash tags and viral posts aside, Twitter plays a multipronged role in football. It is no longer just a medium for celebrity footballers to connect with their fans or professional clubs to engage with their dedicated spectators. Twitter has had a significant off field influence that often crosses the line.
Where it all started
It all started with footballers sharing tidbits of their lives with the fans. With Twitter and Instagram in particular, fans did not need the paparazzi and the expensive sports magazine subscription. They could get officially shared images and videos offering a peek into the lives of their role models. Many footballers have been routinely sharing their training updates with videos covering more than just them, at times entire teams. Then there are some who share more personal moments, from breaking news of weddings and engagements to glimpses of where they holiday or have fun. There have been interesting exchanges as well, such as exposure to special medical devices and fans correcting what footballers, their managers and club owners are doing wrong. Be it advice on how to decorate a Christmas tree or which players the managers should be trading to improve the team, there are opinions galore.
A Manchester United Training Video
Rivalry, not just among players but among fans, is perhaps best displayed on Twitter. Fans don’t get into fistfights and pub fights anymore, barring a few exceptions. They get on a spree of abuse on Twitter. The abusive fans don’t confine themselves to rival fans but drag in the handles of the footballers, official team profiles and managers. There are dedicated fan clubs that bring in their armies when the fights get heated up.
What starts a football trend on Twitter
Twitter trends are a guarantee when the top teams clash at crucial junctures. It is not just the derby or el classico, it is about the teams at the top of the table or at the bottom, humiliating exits for celebrated teams, underdogs pulling a surprise or just a solid match with poor refereeing, everything leaves a footprint on Twitter. Football fans have always been among the most vibrant, vocal and also mercurial. They have brought all of it on Twitter and that finds a place in marketing and promotional strategies of the clubs, associated brands and public relations agencies. While ambassadors of football may want the Twitter space to be desirably sanitized, it is far from so.