Social Media and football

The Premier League has issued club guidelines on social media in the run-up to the 2012/13 season. Continue reading


Is Joey Barton right to tweet his angst?

It’s fair to say that the comments of one Joseph Barton have created quite a stir in the last few weeks, prompting many to question whether footballers should be allowed to have personal Twitter accounts.
There are a few clubs who have already banned their players from using the social networking site and it is thought that club managers, PR managers and maybe even agents will become so fed up with ‘tweeting’ that, before too long, footballers will be banished from Twitter forever.
The thinking is simple: a footballer might not think before he posts something on the site and this could lead to big problems for the club, for fear of ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ or , at the very least, tongues wagging for the wrong reasons. So, ban them from it completely.

Joey Barton has been portrayed as one of the success stories of footballers joining Twitter – many admit that their opinions of the midfielder have changed since he started talking about classic rock music, quoting George Orwell and asking followers to name his sickeningly-adorable new puppy.
There are still a few who cannot forgive Barton for some of the things he has done in the past (and possibly rightly so), and there are some who are beginning to find themselves ‘bored with Barton’ – he’s playing up to the image a little now, exploiting the fact that he’s got people on his side.
They always say that honesty is the best policy but, in this context, that’s debateable. It’s great to see a player speak out about something that he doesn’t like, especially when fans of Newcastle are very unhappy – to say the least – with how the club is being run, so to have an ‘inside voice’ for once is rather interesting.
And let’s be fair – Barton’s tweets (particularly in the last couple of weeks) have been much more interesting than the frankly mundane Michael Owen, the brand-expanding Rio Ferdinand and the painfully-ignorant-to-his-own-shortcomings Robbie Savage. I’d rather have a player speak his own mind, providing interesting information about himself and his club rather than some PR-pedalled, image-enhancing bullshit.
But then, I’m not a Newcastle fan, nor am I a shareholder in the club and I’m certainly not Mike Ashley. Barton has put himself in an incredibly difficult position: yes, he’s honest and he clearly cares about the club, and that should be applauded; but it’s hardly surprising that a) some fans take exception to their club being dragged through the mud time and time again, and b) those at the top of the Toon hierarchy are unhappy with the comments and are focusing on the criticism rather than the reasons for the criticism.
The fact is, if there weren’t problems at Newcastle, Barton wouldn’t have anything to complain about. It’s all well and good saying that Barton is disrespecting the club, disrespecting the owners etc., but they really are focusing on the wrong issue. As far as I’m concerned, Barton is bringing the fans’ concerns to the fore; why should he just sit there and watch as his club gets pissed about with by people the fans clearly aren’t happy with?
In the long run, fans will probably be grateful to Barton for at least standing up to Ashley and co., and speaking out – something that happens far too little in this sport resulting little change occurring (when a lot of changes clearly need to be made).
Barton’s future in Geordieland now looks incredibly uncertain with some reports suggesting that he has a whole host of top clubs after his signature, while others say that he might just stay at Newcastle.
The midfielder has been in brilliant form for the last two seasons – he was undoubtedly one of the best players in the Premier League last season – so it will be interesting to see where Barton plys his trade this term. While fans and journalists all across the country might commend Barton’s honesty, clubs might not see it that way.
Despite being available on a free transfer many top sides will wonder whether it is really worth bringing a ‘disrupting’ influence (according to some) into the team, mainly because of relations within the team and throughout the club but also from the PR perspective mentioned earlier.
No one knows for sure what is going through Barton’s head; is he really looking out for the club and the fans, or is he personally fed up with the ownership of the club. Both of those would be acceptable stances to take. Or, maybe he’s just trying to engineer a move in a weird and wonderful way.
Either way, let’s be honest – it’s much more interesting than hearing about the never-ending narrative of Cesc Fabregas’ pilgrimage to Camp Nou.

Facebook Film To Be Released Later This Year

A drama film that tells the story of the social networking site Facebook was created, whist describing the worldwide phemimnom that it created is coming a screen near you. Scheduled for October 2010, ‘The Social Network’ tells of how Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire in such a small space of time, whilst picking up friends, and enemies, along the way. His fortune and success brings with it serious personal and legal complications.               The tagline of the film is ‘You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies’. This refers to the fact that, soon after Zuckerberg created the social networking site, the Harvard student became a worldwide superstar, gaining friends on his own creation.  

              None of the Facebook creators (Zuckerberg or co-creators Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes) actually feature in the film; apparently they want nothing to do with the production of the movie. The characters, though, will be played by a relatively low-key cast. Playing Zuckerberg is Jess Eisenberg, who is most famous for playing Columbus in horror comedy ‘Zombieland’. Saverin, who left the group of friends before Facebook became what it is today, is played by Andrew Garfield, who played Anton in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’, alongside Heath Ledger. Saverin’s departure from Facebook resulted in subsequent legal action, which plays a major role in the film. Saverin eventually obtained the rights to have his name down as one of the founders of the social networking site.
Also appearing in the movie is pop music sensation Justin Timberlake, who plays Sean Parker, the president of Facebook. The film is directed by David Fincher, who is well known for his dark thrillers. ‘Se7en’, ‘The Game’ and ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ are among Fincher’s creations. Kevin Spacey is among the producers for the film. Spacey played Lex Luthor in ‘Superman Returns’ and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominee says that “the Social Network is probably going to be a lot funnier than people might expect it to be.” The movie is similar to Ben Mezrich’s book, ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal’, although the book concentrates more on the later years of Facebook. 
            Ironically, Sony decided to advertise the movie on Twitter. Facebook do not allow advertisements on their website unless they are co operating. Zuckerberg is quoted as saying that he wishes the film had never been made in his lifetime, which suggests he wants little to do with the movie. Twitter, then, was Sony’s choice of platform.
            Although the film has been put down as a drama film, as well as a comedy according to Spacey, the trailer suggests that the film has a dark side to it. Although the idea of a movie about a social networking site may be a ridiculous one, the story of glory, passion and greed, along with the less-well known cast, be a be big hit. The film is set to be released in October in USA but Columbia Pictures are yet to announce a UK release date.

You can watch the trailer on YouTube.