Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Tweetest Thing

Interesting discussion on Radio Scotland's Paper Talk on Monday night. Jim Traynor, Hugh MacDonald, Graeme Bryce and Jim Black were discussing Scottish football's refereeing crisis.

Someone suggested by text that the traditional media "lagged miles" behind social media in reporting the strike. Traynor pointed out that newspapers had to consider legal positions before publishing. Which is true, but not quite the whole story.

We're then told that a lot of stuff on social site is "patently ludicrous and untrue." That's the old "internet is populated by nutcases" argument. How refreshing. Because we all know that without a newspaper byline your views count for nothing in Scottish football.

Fair enough.

Except they're wrong.

It's up to you if you want to get on board with new technology or not. Although to be so vocal does suggest that you revel in the contrariness, that you'd be standing round the fire raging against the invention of the wheel.

There are some nutters on that, there internet. There's been a few in the gaggle of Scottish fitba' journalists down the years as well, mind.

But we're not all nutters. And some of us might even have got exceptionally high marks in our Scots Law for Journalists exams (not that I'm one to brag. But 95 percent, as you're asking.)

I don't pretend to set the news agenda with this blog or with any of my tweets. I'm without contacts, unlikely to ever get a scoop. That's not what this blog is all about, it was never intended to be a comprehensive round-up of Scottish football news. I react to news that interests me.

Of course, every blogger or tweeter will have their own reasons for covering Scottish football. And I'd like to think that most of us can bring something unique to the debate.

Hardly fair then to write us all off as lunatics. I didn't break any big news stories about the referee's strike but nor did I make up any ludicrous rumours. I even went out of my way to argue against some of the taller conspiracy theories.

But, and this is the point that Traynor's merry band of Luddites missed, Twitter did lead the coverage of the strike.

@STV_Andy and @STVGrant, of STV's ever improving football site, were my first call for the increasingly ludicrous and farcical twists and turns over the course of the week. They used the big, bad world of social media combined with some good old fashioned journalism to beat the oppostion on almost every big breaking story.

Not two guys sitting blogging in their mother's spare room. (Well, they might be. But it's not proving too much of a hindrance to them.) Two guys actually working for a real, proper "old media" website but realising that there's more to covering football these days than writing a story and then going on the radio to pontificate. Nothing wrong with a spot of pontification, of course, I regularly indulge myself.

But there is more to covering football now.

If you were waiting for the morning papers to get the latest you were way behind the story.

There is an arrogance in the insular clique of Scottish football journalists. Blogs, Twitter and forums might not be 100 percent reliable but they are changing how we digest our football news.

Someone at STV gets that.

Jim Traynor and his guests don't. And we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.

> You can listen to the programme here


  1. Great article.

    Some of the press are just snobby & stuck in their ways. Yes we don't have a number of exclusive... Although I did break the Owen Coyle off to Bolton story as I got a great source.

    But what we offer is sensible articles that start debates & not full of drivel like the tabloids.

  2. Most of us don't believe everything we read online. But we don't believe everything we read in the papers either.

    Obviously the referee's strike did bring out the worst of the conspiracy theorists and "nutters." And there is probably a legitimate complaint that some sites do steal quotes, stories without acknowledging sources.

    But this closed mind view that everything online is the same really annoys me. Traynor and Chick Young are two of the worst culprits.

    Although the facetious argument would be that if we're upsetting them we're doing something right.

  3. Great post mate.

    Andy and Grant did a great job covering the referee debarcle and they used social media to their advantage, like contacting Tom Shave who covers Portugal to get profiles on the referees coming over.

    Obviously in the same day they decided not to come over, but STV had already reported the whole story, not having to wait till the next day to read about it in the papers. They already had it covered.

    I've stopped buying papers cause the next day the information is already old.

    There are a number of places where the word "nutter" can be used, but there are so many places that are a great source of information and opinions.

    And it's quite easy to tell with the quality of writing what places to trust and places to avoid.

  4. Yeah exactly there are some sensible people out there that don't believe everything they read.

    Plus just look at the World Cup Bids this week, Twitter lead that story, all the info came from there 1st & TV was playing catch up.