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.