Social Media Black Out
I'm 100% behind the stance of the clubs and players in shutting down their 'socials' for this weekend but let's be honest it won't do anything.
I'm not the right demographic for socials but do dip into Twitter and Instagram and every day see stuff that shocks me and has become normalised, and even more so in the past 12 months. A random one yesterday. Matt Hancock get's his jab from JVT. The comments start off with a little bit of ahem gentle abuse and by about the 2nd scroll a woman was wishing him a painful death. This woman when I clicked on her profile was a mum of two who's previous tweets including more homely things. I guess what my point is that the people behind a lot of this vile stuff that appears on socials (I do hate that every time I type it) are not shaven headed racists, they are not extreme political activists, they are quite often angry people who now have something in their hand to express their rage and do so in the most terrible of ways. Wishing death, rape, pain etc on total strangers. And it is not a small number of people, and it is no a single demographic.
I wish I had an answer but whilst the social media companies have a platform that supports 'free speech' with impunity you will not change it. They have skin in the game as they say.
I will sign of this witter with a little story from a couple of decades ago. My friends and I were stood along the side terrace (pre-Frank Adams Stand, what was it called?) watching a pretty dire Smith era game. It was crowded surprisingly but those were days. The team was playing Smith era football, it was not a good time kids. A guy I did not know joined us and shared our frustration at the showing. He looked normal if there is such a thing. After a while he turned round and said 'you know what's wrong with this team?'...here we go, the answer, it's the formation, its the lack of unity in the squad, its the hangover from the O'Neil era, its the signing of big money players who are under performing, its ...'too many black players'. To say I was shocked is an understatement but I was delighted when my friends and I and a circle around us who had also heard this turned on him and told him in no uncertain terms he was not welcome on the terrace or at the club. He sulked off. And even though I would struggle to recognise him I don't recall seeing him again. I don't think any of us 'cured' a racist but maybe we did make him feel that this was not a petri dish he was going to thrive in. Maybe self-policing is an idea for the virtual world too.
*was certainly not those exact words.