In fact… it’s a game changer
A game changer certainly for me anyways. For a long time the national media were totally free to place whichever angle they felt necessary on any story in which I was involved. This more often than not gave an unbalanced view of the situation.
This was something that frustrated the life out of me. I was stupid enough on more than one occasion, something that everybody is aware of. On each occasion I messed up, I was quick to accept responsibility and try to make amends for whatever it was I had done. The media would report these incidents whichever way they wanted. To be fair, sometimes there was a lot of truth, but at other times there wasn’t a semblance of it. That is the way that traditional media works: they own the means of broadcast and publication, so they get to tailor the message as they see fit.
Then I spoke to a pal of mine about Twitter. I heard of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and such like, but thought that it wouldn’t be productive for me. Either way I said to my friend that I would take a look at it and get back to him. Six months later I was still undecided but got some advice and decided to give it a shot.
That’s how it all started. To be honest I have enjoyed the experience immensely. There are times when it has become annoying, that goes without saying. And maybe it’s not for those of us without a solid constitution and a thick skin (some of the verbal abuse I get is truly unbelievable) but in my case, the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
What I really like about it is that you are not only able to interact with football fans around the world but they get to see a side of your personality that they never knew existed. And sometimes I get to see a side of theirs…
It also gave me a platform to interact directly with the media: some of whom had ran amuck with all manner of personal smites against me, not only professional but personally without having ever met me in person. All of a sudden the person they were having a go at not only had the chance to respond directly to those comments but I could do it in real time. For me that’s the real bonus.
The ways in which the world is changing are enormous. And it’s all about instant media, instant communication. People want news and they want it now. They don’t want to have to wait around to buy the paper in the morning, they want to know what’s happening, as it happens. And increasingly they want to hear it directly from the horse’s mouth. Twitter and other forms of social media enable everyone to own their own means of publication!
We can see this going on in the world around us daily and I believe it is incredibly positive for society and communities worldwide. People interacting all over the world instantaneously. What a brilliant and enabling opportunity!
I am certain that without social media there would have been no Arab Spring, no Leveson enquiry and Hosni Mubarak would still be in power in Egypt. We’ve always had uprising and social change, but not at this pace. Of course like any new technology, there are some flaws, but in any great democracy, freedom of information is a keystone. For the government to try to censor not only social media but also people’s internet usage in the name of security, worries me greatly.
I think it’s vitally important for us all to be able to hold to account those to whom we delegate authority. I think a really important tool for us to do this is social media, and all the other means of communication afforded us by the internet. It allows us all as individuals to connect with people of like-mind in order to take a stand against something we are not happy with.
Alone we are a voice in the desert. Together we can move mountains. This has been shown on a number of occasions, but to me nothing beats the Hillsborough campaign. It brought together people from all manner of different backgrounds, fans of football clubs all around the country, people who had no interest in football, celebrities, politicians and journalists: all united as one for the same, poignant cause.
This is just but one example of why social media works and has to remain uncensored. We don’t want to end up like characters in George Orwell’s great novel ‘1984’. In my opinion censoring social media sets us on a dangerous path. We cannot allow this to happen.