Those Twittering twats…

by , December 5, 2012

Most of you who browse Forest fan sites are probably already aware that eighteensixtyfive’s Rish and Rahoul have announced their retirement from the Forest online community due to what passes for ‘banter’ on Twitter getting out of hand, and seeing as Rish mentioned LTLF’s ‘excellent news round-ups’, I thought I better get some content online!

Updates have been sparse in the last few months, mostly due to the launch of my book (no, I don’t miss a chance for a plug) and other work commitments. If LTLF isn’t being updated regularly then it generally means I’m out of the loop as far as football is concerned – when something interesting is going on Forest-wise I usually can’t resist passing some comment (or at the very least eking a cheap gag out of it).

Not that a huge amount of interesting stuff has been happening. People being abusive on Twitter is hardly what I’d call news-worthy. LTLF has a Twitter account and we use it to keep our readers and forum members informed, but other than that I try to avoid getting involved with Twitter ‘banter’. Going on Twitter looking for intelligent football chat is like trying to show off the moves you learnt at Salsa class at a Meadows pub disco – pointless, and carrying a high risk that you’ll get hurt.

Maybe Rish and Rahoul are being over-sensitive in closing up shop. Staying away from Twitter (and particularly away from hash tag threads) is a good policy if you want to avoid listening to the opinions of morons and it’s a shame they didn’t opt to abandon Twitter rather than their own site. Personally speaking LTLF generally receives positive comment and the few non-constructive remarks I accept as part of the job. We get enough feedback without venturing into the Twitosphere and there are people there whose views of our work (or anything else for that matter) I’m not particularly interested in. If the eighteensixtyfive guys were able to simply ignore the Twitterers then maybe they could maintain the positive outlook required to keep a site like that going. Still, it should be remembered that eighteensixtyfive was ahead of most in utilising Twitter as a medium for football fans, so who can fault them for feeling aggrieved at what their pioneering efforts have resulted in?

And then there’s the sad fact that both chaps cite racial comments as being prominent in their decision. I can’t image what that’s like any more than I can imagine why someone would feel the need to bring a fellow fan’s race into a discussion about football, but I can suppose that it’s pretty spirit-crushing. As I say, you need to have a certain mindset to run a successful fan site and being subjected to bigotry probably isn’t conducive to motivation.

I understand that there has also been a recent increase in abusive tweets being sent to our players, moving the Through the Seasons Before Us blogger to comment on a groundswell of negativity. Again, players could save themselves the hassle by not being on Twitter, but equally they have as much right to use the service to communicate to grateful supporters without being insulted as Rish and Rahoul do.

I suppose the increase in such stupidity (from what is obviously a minority, but still large enough to cause a stir) can be explained by the fact that our recent performances haven’t matched those from earlier in the season. Big deal. All football teams go through rough patches in every season, especially when they have the injury lists we have. In no way does it excuse the Twitter-based behaviour or even the generally negative vibe currently being felt on the LTLF Forum.

Yes, the Ipswich and Hull games were painful for us all, and the sense of frustration at missing out on six very winable points was compounded by Sean O’Driscoll saying he was pleased with what he saw on Saturday. I certainly wasn’t pleased – bored witless, more like. But I’m not reacting to it by hurling abuse at players and fans 140 characters at a time – anyone who does that is quite frankly a dickhead. Twitter idiocy aside, I just don’t see the need for any kind of extreme reaction to recent form. We’ve got a great squad and a highly intelligent manager. I could be happier with the current situation with a few more wins on the board, but I haven’t lost sight of the fact that the course of footballing success, like true love, never runs smooth.

I’m not trying to write one of those ‘get behind the lads’ articles (you can read a very good one on Seat Pitch though). I’m also not saying fans shouldn’t air their views if they aren’t happy with the team’s performance. LTLF was created as a platform for both favourable and critical views of the club, but we do insist our contributors put their brain in gear before they start setting down their opinions, a prerequisite that doesn’t really apply on social networks and forums.

My point is that those of you who think it’s okay to send abusive messages to footballers just because their presence on Twitter allows you to, you’re wrong. Those of you who think it’s okay aim racial slurs and threats at two good blokes just because they run a public website, you’re wrong. Those of you who think the best way to deal with a couple of bad results is to rant and rave like a spoiled child, you’re wrong. And if you’re wrong about all that, why don’t you have a think about what else you might be getting wrong as well? You might realise that things at the City Ground aren’t nearly as bad as you’ve been making out.