Twittering On. Again.

WARNING: the following infomercial contains shameless plugs…. think of it being like the clips between programmes on the telly that urge you to press the red button or switch over to a dedicated digital channel for more, more, more.

As part of Untypical Boro’s relentless quest to dominate Teesside cyber-space and become Boro’s biggest blogosphere brand I am really pushing my presence on trendy micro-blogging system Twitter.
Yes, I know that sounds really pompous, like I sit in my Jacuzzi with a Blackberry exchanging luvvie banter with Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross in bite sized packets of 140 sycophantic characters. But seriously, Twitter can help expand your enjoyment of the Untypical Boro experience. It is all about a creating a dynamic multi-platform presence and engaging symbiotically a mosaic of inter-linked audiences. Apparently.
That means, in old money, that while I don’t have the time to write about every snippet of football news as it unfolds I can still point you in the direction of things that have tweaked my interest, stories that are pertinent to events on Planet Boro or football funnies, lists, videos and oddities that made me smile but I probably won’t get around to writing about. Kind of ‘let’s see what you would have won’.
Basically Twitter is a network of people with shared interests that send each other links saying: “have you seen this?” Clearly there is too much raw data – news, views, chatter, argument, scurrilous rumour – on the internet to read everything, even within a fairly limited field like Boro. Twitter allows other people to read it for you, filter out the rubbish and deliver a selective streamlined choice of the best. It is about recommendation. The key is to develop a network of people with similar cultural outlooks who you trust to act as part of that collective – and to become a trusted source for others to follow.
You need to be quite selective. When I first started on twitter for instance I was following the BBC Sport and Sky Sports football feed and was just overwhelmed by hundreds of updates every hour about Kilmarnock moving for Danny Invincible or Ipswich eyeing a trio of Bulgarian midfielders and the sheer volume was knocking things I was interested in off my home page. So they got binned.
I follow a couple of football fanzine type feeds that mine the best from the broadsheets and a couple who have an interest in Europe and beyond, plus a clutch of Boro-based posters who scour the net and link to scraps from the nationals and also to the podcasts from BBC Tees, useful last week after Gibbo’s Mackemgate gaffe. They all help make sure nothing slips through the net. I also follow a few sites concerned with new media, publishing, newspaper design and hack gossip but you won’t be interested in that.
Twitter allows you to link to all the people I follow via my home page and if you find them interesting you can follow them too and get their updates and links yourself. Then pass them on to your own network of followers. It’s viral dissemination.
So join my merry gang of switched on followers and I’ll point your browser towards some good stuff that other people who are even sadder than me and scour the internet 26 hours a day have unearthed and linked.
This morning for instance I have ‘tweeted’ (as I believe the young people say) links to interesting stories about::
How Blackburn are ready to “do a Boro” and take a risk on a reduced squad and wage bill next season in a bid to bring their costs under control.
How the co-owners of tottering paper empire Liverpool have jetted around the world and put it on the club’s expenses.
How an Indian star striker has been suspended for six months after skipping first team action to sign up for a Bollywood version of Strictly Come Dancing.
How Newcastle’s comic and naive invitation of offers by e-mail to buy the club have descended into farce and offered an open goal to mischievous Mackems.
Of course, I’m am still feeling my way around the Twitter system and have just scratched the surface. Up to now I am just using it to link to other stories and alert followers to new posts but it may have more imaginative uses next season, maybe as an avenue for quip-by-quip commentary from matches or cynical self-deprecating Boro jokes of the day. As if I haven’t got anything else to do. We’ll see. I’m open to suggestions.
Anyway, be the first on your block to sign up and follow me on Twitter.


25 thoughts on “Twittering On. Again.

  1. There’s a new hybrid site being launched shortly which combines the merits of You Tube, Twitter and Facebook.
    It’s called Youtwitface!

  2. Whilst you are sending links to interesting stories you may wish to include one I saw on the BBC website this morning – “Twitter hype punctured by study”
    It’s basically saying that Twitter is being used as more of a broadcast medium than an interactive tool with 90% of traffic being sent by 10% of those registered.
    Whilst personally I’m not technology adversed – and am quite happy with checking out my favourite internet sites, email and the odd text message as well as digital TV and radio to gain information – it seems many people are getting pretty close to information overload.
    **AV writes: I was very cynical when it was suggested by those already that I might find it useful. This year’s Facebook, I thought, a fad for social inadequates to show off their collection of proxy ‘friends’. Besides, what can you do in 140 characters? I actually had a crack at a K-Tel collection of tongue in cheek condensed classics like War and Peace and Romeo and Juliet to test the concept and it worked.
    In fact I have found it extremely useful. You are right about information overload on the net. Basically I don’t have the time, or inclination or the million strong list of bookmarked website to wade through the tide of ill-informed, cut-and-pasted half-truths that slosh through the cyber sewer to find the real gems of genuine creative writing, insight and humour that are out there.
    But what Twitter appears to let you do is out-source the reading. It is a kind of delegated collective news filter. You can gradually refine a set of individuals whose editorial judgement, sense of humour and cultural bias you trust and ‘follow’ them, picking up on their links while ignoring the rest. Likewise, hopefully people will follow me on Twitter because I am a ‘brand’ they can trust too.
    Eventually you become part of a like minded community sharing information. If I see something I think you may be interested in but I don’t have time to write about I can just stick a link out there for you. We can discuss it later. Or you can point me towards a link supporting or contradicting it. It is partly an information gathering service but also an outlet for disseminating news and opinion too.
    I think you are right that it is a broadcast medium rather than an interactive tool but then maybe that is why so many journalists and those involved in multi-platform media are involved. I’m finding it useful.

  3. Great comment by Peterborough Angel, and within 2 hours of your extended tweet!
    Of course, we are not fooled. In addition to your normal journalistic Gazette duties, and manning this Blog, your dive into electronic birdsong can only have one true motive. In the close season you have invented in advance an excuse not to renovate the back bedroom, and keep on top of the garden etc….. “No, love, I’d like to do it but I’ve got to deal with these tweets by my ever-growing flock of followers.” Shocking!
    Incidentally I understand this Twitter thing can involve some complications. Just take a look at the amusing “Retweet” piece on the front website page of everyone’s favourite Queens’ College graduate (I take the liberty of assuming your favourite isn’t Erasmus) – “The New Adventures of Mr Stephen Fry”.
    Are you familiar with Hashtags and the like? Will your server take the strain? And posters there fear the website will fill up with Twits (if that is the collective noun for tweeters). Quill pens and the pigeon post were much simpler.
    **AV writes: You know far too much about all this. All the lingo too. Saddo.

  4. Would twitter be any good for finding links to Platini condemning the indecent transfer fee for Kaka, the excremental wage being paid and the fact he is denying a chance for young lads from local communities in Madrid.
    See, it doesn’t matter the medium, it is the content that counts.
    **AV writes: Excremental is a great word.

  5. As someone who makes a living in the technology world I applaud you – the more people lost and struggling the better it is* ….just kidding
    But it is interesting. I’m overseas at the moment and just been contracted to enable a large company’s intranet site for social networking so people can twitter/tweet/podcast/blog/facebook/video/engage with each other to promote an “all for one” culture and to enable new ways of training and communicating.
    So AV you’re on the bleeding cusp – good luck and I’m now following you – so it better be good or you’re in the bin !!!
    PS If the sentence marked * seems familiar it reminded me of the barcodes.
    **AV writes: I’ve tried a few things – podcasts, webchats etc – and I’m always up for things that can enhance the ability to inform, educate and entertain and to make things accessible but that do not diminish quality.
    We – the news industry – need to recognise a few key facts: people now choose to take their content in a variety of formats that are not confined by our ability to print/broadcast within old structures and time frames (and business models); and that our audience is essentially promiscuous and will not wait for our take if they can get it first elsewhere.
    I have no problem accepting that other media may get stories first. The key for me is that we can give them context and colour, add analysis and history and that people know that because we care we can be trusted to present the unfolding picture in a way that is worthwhile readers pursuing. I want you to come here because you recognise that I can add insight and interest.
    If there are new ways of doing that then I will explore them. Sorry, this is all sickening self-indulgent media navel gazing.

  6. Personally I see the end of the daily newspaper or at least massive circulation decreases since younger people do not want to read them. They’re happy with news websites.
    I personally read the Gazette, BBC website, NYTimes, Washington Post, Sporting LIfe, Wired, CNET News and any related links to stories that catch my eye. All this before breakfast in a single 10-15 minutes session, then I pop back several times a day to read to the “wistful” (I think that’s being generous) comments from your blog 🙂
    By the way, the talking Boro forum video’s were really useful for people like myself who no longer live in the UK and as Brisbane Phil said a week or so ago, we will no longer have live coverage of the games anymore. No one covers the Championship not even the chinese peer-to-peer websites so until promotion we will be lost with what to do at 1am on a Sunday morning, possible start sleeping normally again I suppose. At least I won’t have to listen to Iraqi or Chinese commentators for games not shown on Sky. Believe me that’s not much fun.
    If anyone wants to record the games and make the available – well there may be a underground business opportunity here. The penny now drops….
    Relegation means all the people from Teesside who no longer live there – and I’m guessing there’s millions of us will have to sign up for the club’s video feeds. A brand new revenue source…..hmmmm I think those conspiracy theorists may yet be proved right.
    BTW, this is your blog so you’re entitled to sickening self-indulgent media navel gazing – that’s the whole point.

  7. AV
    In the words of Elvis ‘thank you very much’.
    Two points.
    1. I still havent spotted any comments from Platini re Kaka’s move.
    2. There is no sound unless someone can hear it. We blog and debate long and hard about our beloved Boro. This season we have discussed and analysed our short comings which were self evident even pre-season. It all came ‘out of the blue’ at the club.

  8. There will always be local papers because you cant take your laptop in the bath.
    Besides, the national papers, Sky sports and all the footy websites seem to just lift most of their stories from the Gazette/Echo anyway. If there are no papers like the Gazette with real journalists asking the questions on the ground what would the bimbos on Sky have to read off the autocue?
    But I think you are right AV, people don’t come here for the news (we get that elsewhere, Sky Sports etc). We come for considered discussion about the stories among like minded, well informed fellow Boro fans.
    I think this blog is great because people can put their point of view over without getting shouted down like they do on some message boards. There are some great and passionate posters on here and I have learnt a lot and been made to think about things I hadn’t even considered before. Thanks.
    PS I’ve never even heard of twitter. Does that make an old fogey?

  9. Hey Vic, I’ve heard Gareth has now started on Twitter on the basi that before, during and after the game he can get input and advice as he is always willing to learn lessons and any help is greatfully welcomed.
    He also feels that it would make an excellent new excuse …and a funny one too ‘A guy on twitter thought it might be a good tactical move’
    Any way he is quite willing to listen to any opinions which can only be a good thing. For you non highly techie types he can still be contacted at his email address
    Or pass to me and i will forward for you.

  10. Embarrassment is something to be avoided at the best of times.
    However, the comments of Keith Lamb which were included in your latest feature took the biscuit. Lamb said, “We had the most expensive strike force in the club’s history on display last season.” A competent spokesperson would have taken the sting out of that, long before it even became a sour topic.
    Why did Lamb apologies for the mistake, regarding the fans from Stockton when it was clearly the shout of Steve Gibson to correct his own error?
    The club is in dire need of a spokesperson to represent them where it really matters, because they are totally blind to either prepared speech or healing wounds.
    Middlesbrough Football Club doesn’t need Keith Lamb. We need a football technician of the highest order who can both command respect from the fans and form a bond that has never been seen. That is my opinion and it has been such for seasons, not of late.
    Finally, I think Twitter is fine, but nothing beats the correct coverage of a local newspaper for fresh grit.

  11. If the answer’s ‘Marlon Harewood’ – what the hell’s the question?
    **AV writes: Er, name a player who ALWAYS scores against Boro?
    A master stroke AV. Brilliant. Let’s just buy up all the players who normally score against us. Clean sheets guaranteed, but a lot of new players on the wage bill.

  12. Grove Hill wallah said:
    “If the answer’s ‘Marlon Harewood’ – what the hell’s the question?
    **AV writes: Er, name a player who ALWAYS scores against Boro?
    A master stroke AV. Brilliant. Let’s just buy up all the players who normally score against us. Clean sheets guaranteed, but a lot of new players on the wage bill.”
    What is the point in buying a PL striker- we are now in the Championship!
    Up the Boro!

  13. How predictable and pathetic that the people who were so upset about Gibson’s lighthearted Stockton comments are now getting upset that Keith Lamb made the apology and not Gibbo himself.
    Gibbo should have known that only by putting himself in some stocks in Stockton town centre and dishing out free rotten tomatoes in the shape of Gareth’s head would people have been truly satisfied.
    I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while AV, but to be quite honest I’m still waiting for something exciting to happen – though I’ll admit I haven’t exactly thrown myself into it yet. I’ll try harder.
    **AV writes: For now, I am using it mainly to distribute links to things I like but haven’t got time to write about at the minute. It’s a viral thing. Other than that I’m not sure what you expect to happen.

  14. If we sign Harewood I’ll really feel like asking for a refund on my season ticket. He is complete garbage and 30 years old.
    How long is it since he played regular first team football?.I actually saw him playing for Wolves on loan toward the end of last season. He was that bad it was embarassing- no wonder Mick McCarthy sent him back in double quick time.
    I still hold a thin strand of hope that Southgate can come good and turn it all around. If we sign this plank I give up I really do.

  15. Dont think Im going to be able to get into this twitter stuff, bit nurdy me thinks.
    On a somewhat different point (hope you dont mind), Ive just read that Tuncay wants a move, preferably in the premiership. Although this is of course no surprise to anyone, for me, it has more than anything brought home what relegation is all about.
    As bad as losing Stew Downing is, for me Tuncay is a special player and along with Luke Young, proved that Gareth is capable of signing good players as well as bad, just like Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger et al.
    Having more or less snapped out of the blues following relegation and even looking forward to Boro winning some games. Tuncay’s imminent departure has again encircled me in a dark place. Surely footy cant be that important, can it?
    Have a good summer.

  16. Davidt at 6.56pm – don’t think you can disappear just because it’s summer. This Blog needs you. And we haven’t lost a game for quite a while now. We haven’t been able to say that for ages.
    I thought the scouts might come up with David Beckham (whose wife would LOVE the nightlife and fashion stores around here) and Ryan Giggs (who might be a little past his best but would, I suspect, squeeze into our team at any position apart from centre back and goalie). All we need to do is to rob the bank to pay the wages (or maybe give them 50% of profits on kit sold as compo for their image rights….?).
    OK, I’ll go back to the bottle of Shiraz/Viognier….. These dreams won’t go away.

  17. AV said to Borophil about Twitter: “It’s a viral thing. Other than that I’m not sure what you expect to happen.”
    Its a bit like supporting the Boro then!

  18. Folks, Don’t you think Boro are lucky to have Newcastle drawing all the attention? The only way to outdo them would be to officially auction all Boro’s players on e-bay or to offer Ashley seat on the board to take advantage of his football experience!

  19. **AV writes: “For now, I am using it mainly to distribute links to things I like but haven’t got time to write about at the minute. It’s a viral thing. Other than that I’m not sure what you expect to happen.”
    Haha, I don’t know really.
    As for Harewood, he isn’t going to excite anyone, but we probably will need someone ugly up front who will bang in a few goals and he might fit the bill.

  20. So following Gibson’s statement of intent that he’s determined to get back into the PL at the first attempt, the news on the transfer front doesn’t seem to back it up.
    Already moves for the outgoing Tuncay, O’Neil, Downing, Ali, Huth and Bates have been widely reported.
    So far the reports of their replacements have been an unknown 20-year old Serbian striker, Marlon ‘nobody wants me’ Harewood, an optimistic punt for Gary Neville, a winger from Colchester who must be good because he’s worth £350,000 -plus we were reportedly scared off a move for Jordi Gomez by the £1.5m price tag.
    All that doesn’t sound like we’re building a team to set the Championship on fire – I just hope there’s better things happening behind the scenes.

  21. Hello,
    Just seen next doors cat walking down the road with a bird in his mouth. Does that mean the end of twitter?

  22. AV is a good reporter – I like his articles – he is well read and has an excellent command of the English language that I would personally crave for – but to get embroiled in such web sites as TWITTER etc is a big mistake – “Keep it simple AV!”
    …GS is a nice man, a yes man – THE WRONG man, – THE RIGHT man – I really don’t know anymore – I am also close to saying – I don’t care anymore – BUT I DO – HOW ABOUT YOU GIBBO?
    Please, please, please cut us tortured fans some slack and bring some LEADERSHIP to the club – Times are Tough at the moment, for YOU for ME and the MAJORITY. Very, very bold decisions have to be made if MFC is to survive in the manner us fans have been accustomed to since your accession to the THRONE!

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