The Cult of Twitterality

It’s always good fun to have twitter running when West

It’s always good fun to have twitter running when West Ham are playing, although quite what the value is when you can’t actually see the game either at the ground or on the telly is somewhat of a mystery to me. Having the match on the TV and Twitter on too can, though, lead to much hilarity and genuinely witty banter for the most part.

It was in full flow against Arsenal last Wednesday night and I admit I was one of those posting comments that would not have enlightened anyone who was unable to watch the match. There’s always a race, as far as I’m concerned, to get information up before anyone else, so inevitably when West Ham opened the scoring my one word tweet was simply ‘Collison!’. Brilliant! So apart from alerting the world to the fact West Ham may have scored, it could also have been interpreted as a shout of derision as the referee brandished a red card. Or even something as innocuous as a poorly placed pass.

Of course, within seconds a timeline exploding procession of posts announced we were 1-0 up but it took a couple of minutes for an actual mention of how good the goal was and other useful info to filter through. Hence the usefulness of text based commentary in these situations, I suppose.

Now as the match progressed and the action on the pitch plummeted ever further into disaster the tweets clearly got more and more angst ridden and ultimately filled with rage.

And this is where phase two of my Twitter enjoyment kicks in, in the form of drunken tweeter spotting. It’s not particularly difficult but it’s generally good fun to chart the ever lessening sobriety of a tweeter based on their ever more, how shall we say, descriptive tweets. I’ll quite happily admit I have been one of those tweeters of late. I think my last drunken episode of ‘intoxicated in charge of a Twitter account’ was the match against Reading, where by the end of the game (bearing in mind it was around 9pm on a Saturday evening my time) I was pretty much nearing suicidal tendencies in my 140 characters.

What do they say about never tweeting when drunk? Quite a lot, really, and I always vow to make sure I’ll log off the next time I feel my beer goggles going on AFTER the event. At the time though, everything you feel, everything you write just makes so much sense and you really have to share it with the world at that very moment, you really do. And I guess that’s what happened on Wednesday night. Emotionally low after a battering by Arsenal and maybe taking solace in a few drinks, it was then the rumours about Diame developed into fever pitch.

This had followed on from a press story, as if you need reminding, suggesting Diame was threatening to report West Ham to the FA over a possible reneging on the release clause in his contract – a report which was subsequently rubbished by all parties. Now, I’m not criticising the tweeting in any way, after all what better place than Twitter to trade rumours and gossip but it got to the stage where some tweets were taking on the appearance of fact rather than remaining as conjecture however well informed it may be.

The Twitter frenzy continued for a couple of days and again was in action after reports in the press saying Diame was happy to stay, the new contract was being drawn up and the normal order of the West Ham world, if there is ever a ‘normal’ West Ham order, was returning. Yet by Thursday night this was all up in the air again, according to postings on Twitter and it was interesting to note there was a feeling from some tweeters that whatever information was coming out of the club was a blatant lie and whatever was coming from other sources was more leaning to the true state of affairs.

What does this suggest about how our club is perceived even by those who love it so much? I guess watching it being mismanaged for so long by so many has lead a lot of us to still harbour in our subconscious a thought that our worst fears can and most probably will be realised and when our hopes for our beloved team are being threatened these come rushing to the surface.

Now, please believe me when I say that I am not trying to write an indictment against Twitter gossiping. Far from it, one of my favourite pages in Blowing Bubbles is reading the gems plucked out of the Twittersphere. I enjoy the wisecracks, love the feeling that I might be getting an inside track on what actually is going on behind the scenes and also just reading the feelings of other Hammers fans at that moment in time in the midst of a bad defeat or, of course, in the euphoria of a terrific victory.

I am guilty of reacting as soon as a tweet pops up in the timeline and getting caught up in the whole ‘moment’ does heighten the sense that what I’m reading all seems to be so horribly true. But I hope I’m learning – learning to take a breath and try and put together the whole picture before getting too angry about the impending destruction of our beloved West Ham and take Twitter for what it is. A great place to keep in touch with the club I love and its fantastic fellow supporters.

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