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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Twitter and the Rise of the ITK

Some of you, I am aware, may not be on Twitter or forums, and may not therefore know what an ITK is. Basically it’s someone claiming to be In the Know. If someone needs to claim to ITK, chances are they aren’t. Much like most things in life, those that protest too much are often doing so for a reason.

There is a proliferation of accounts pertaining to be a journalist, or a Consultant to a Sports Management company, or even agents, such wonderfully vague descriptions. The journalists claim to work for a website which will be no more than a trumped up blog site. I could easily therefore claim myself to be a journalist, but that would be silly, I am far from it. But an out of work 21 year old with nothing better to do, well yeah he might claim it, to give himself a little self worth. A Consultant for a Sports Management company is such a wonderfully vague and hard to corroborate title that they might be. They might have been consulted once, many months ago, about something else, so it adds credence to the title. And as for football agent, well yeah, there’s a reason they never say who they are, as that info can be checked on UEFA’s approved list.

So already there we have this rise of accounts claiming to be spilling amazing cutting edge knowledge no-one else does. That’s because they chuck that much crap at a wall, some of it is bound to stick. If I speculate enough that a “striker” is signing and that mention he scored x goals in a European division, it sounds wonderfully cryptic and that I am giving you enough info to guess. Instead it’s enough rope to hang yourself, as it’s just so none specific as to be ridiculous. When something does happen they point to the fact “Well I got that right.”

If you look at any vague none specific prediction you might look right. Astrologers have made careers out of it, Nostradamus is famous for it, but if you actually looked closely at strike rates it’ll be low, until you start moulding that information to suit the means end.

So the news yesterday that we were after 3 players sent these accounts into an orgy of speculation. This then fuels the more hot headed on Twitter and forums into wildly speculating if so and so are the signing. This is the reason these guys do it. Attention. It’s a sad world we live in where by these people are so craving attention and followers that they have to lie. Last year it would be fake accounts, or parody’s. Apart from very clever ones these got tired quickly and are seldom seen (not that it’s currently stopping some) S now it’s all about appearing to have knowledge,
But we have reached a point I believe now where we have become drained and bored of these that even their time is passing. The first few were believed, the next few were taken with a pinch of salt, and the current crop are scorned and disliked. Seen for the ridiculousness of their very enterprise.
That’s the nature of the transfer window though. It breeds such a quick fire burst of activity that it launches everyone into wild speculation. The immediacy of news these days and the rise of 24 hour Sky Sports News means we are so desperate to have our appetites for this sort of thing to be filled. Coupled with at Forest the presence of Fawaz and family and advisers on Twitter it fosters a whole host of new speculation. It’s a frenzy we never saw under Doughty.

But it’s almost unhealthy. Those who are gullible are then laughed at and it creates hostility. Then there are fans that get angry we haven’t signed someone we were rumoured to be in for. But it was only a rumour. People can’t seem to see the distinction between a rumour and the truth. “Why haven’t we signed x player yet” some may ask... Well the truth might be we were never in for them, or that they couldn’t agree a deal.

I like Twitter as a medium for finding the news and interacting, but by gods it can be a frustrating place in transfer windows. I will never understand fans tweeting at a player asking if he’s going to sign (as if that would ever happen) or demanding the chairman sign his suggestion. People then get angry we might sign someone from a Champions League qualified team, and not Billy Sharp. It’s not your bloody choice pal. It’s down to Fawaz and Billy. Leave them be to get on with business. You’re not helping.

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