Social media in football has benefits and negatives. I owe so much to social media and in particular Twitter.
It has enabled me to have a voice to a large audience of West Ham fans and obviously West Ham is my passion in life. And I have managed to meet most of my heroes growing up either through the events that we run or our weekly podcast.
I grew up being shown old tapes of Trevor Brooking by my dad so to interview him as our very first guest on the podcast and for our 100th show too was an absolute honour and something I will always be grateful for.
West Ham fans have also been able to use social media to raise a lot of money for good causes such as Isla Caton fundraising and the Ugandan Orphanage that I have been promoting recently. It would be wrong for me to sit here and slate social media when it has given me so much but there is also a dark side to it.
I love the fact that social media enables fans to be able to share opinions so easily. It brings them closer to the players and also creates much greater interaction at all levels on the club that we all care so passionately about but with that also comes those that use and abuse social media and great a negative side.
I have often been on the receiving end of offensive and abusive comments, the majority of which are based on no substance. The main reason I chose to remain anonymous is because I do not want these comments to ever spill into my enjoyment of going to the games, especially now that I have started to go to some games with my eldest child and hope to go with the other two when they are older.
I have got a lot better at learning to ignore the comments and now actually end up pitying the people who feel the need to send those sort of messages as I feel there must be something missing from their lives to have to want to put others down.
Often, if you look at the people sending these comments, all they ever do is tweet negative things to people so it says a lot about them.
When we interview former or current players on our podcasts or at our events they are often asked about social media and if it affects players and most often they will say it can do.
When players are tagged into comments about how poor they have played (or sometimes even worse) then they say it can affect their game and often now players either keep themselves off social media or employ media agents to control it for them. Even West Ham legend Julian Dicks had to delete his Twitter account due to some of the stuff he was getting.
To conclude I think social media is an extremely important and exciting part of modern day football. Some of us may pine for the old days when we only found out news when it appeared on teletext or the papers, but those days are gone. Social media drives a lot of modern day society and this will only increase and it will be exciting to see new developments in recent years.
Social media has enabled myself and Dave Walker to have a platform where we have created our successful podcast and our popular pre-match events.
These events will continue this season at O’Neills in Leytonstone, which is two stops from Stratford by train. The events go on for three hours and include a Q and A hosted by ex Hammer Mark Ward and featuring another ex Hammer.
We have had so many legends and heroes appear at our events over the three years we have done them and already have confirmation from Kevin Nolan, Hayden Mullins, Matt Jarvis and Alvin Martin that they will do an event in 2019. Our first one will be before the Norwich City game from 11am to 2pm and we will confirm the guest soon. Tickets cost £30 and these include all you can drink on a large range of alcohol and soft drinks, a West Ham-decorated venue, West Ham DVDs and music playing.
We hope to see some of you there. Please check my Twitter account @ExWHUEmployee or thewesthamway.co.uk for more details.
I hope you have enjoyed my first article for Blowing Bubbles and I look forward to writing in future editions.