Looking over the saga of Joey Barton and Jose Enrique’s tweets about the club it raises the question whether the micro-blogging site is actually doing more harm than it intends too.
There are cases for both sides of the title. Let’s start with hindrance.
Joey Barton promised when he came on to the site to reveal the truth that goes on at the club. Both him and Jose Enrique were punished by the club for speaking out against the way that transfers are conducted.
This creates unwelcome traffic for the club as because twitter is available to the general public even if you don’t have an account. The press then pick up on the issues and reports on them thus producing negative PR about the club which is surely unwelcome. Along with this, if you have someone speaking out against the club then that could severely dent the confidence within the team.
That leaves the club in a very unwelcome position; they have to decide how to manage these types of issues. Do they ban their players altogether? Or place strict rules on the way that the players actually use the site itself?
I would go for the latter as many fans like the way that they can gain some knowledge into what their favourite footballer is like, albeit in short, 140 character bursts. Twitter is a new dimension of social media that allows these footballers to communicate with fans when ordinarily it probably wouldn’t have happened.
One thing that I did notice when tweetgate erupted with Joey Barton, I noticed how Danny Simpson operated his twitter. He regularly tweets, giving photos of players, talking about matches, his app that he is designing and interacting with fans. Of all the time that I have been following his account I have never come across a tweet that criticises the club. I think that hits the nail on the head for me – he clearly knows that he should not speak out against the club
Whereas I feel Barton has his own vendetta against the club ever since Chris Hughton was sacked from the club. Every Newcastle fan would love to hear the truth about Mike Ashley and Barton has always been keen to do it. We all know how his comments ended up with him being allowed to leave for free if he found a new club. Barton perhaps felt he had the liberty to air what is said in private by the club, but did we ever hear that from him? Yes he may be unhappy with the sale of Nolan etc etc etc but did he really tell us anything that the vast majority of us don’t already know?
There is a distinct distance between these two tweeters. Simpson knows not to tweet anything about the club and I’m sure it has been drummed into Barton what he can and can’t do. Simpson knew straight from the start that he could tweet but only if he didn’t abuse the position that he is in.
I think that twitter should still be used by the players as a outlet to keep in contact with the legions of supporters although they have to have strict rules so they know how not to abuse the position they are in.
Twitter has enabled fans access that was not available a few years ago and I’m sure many would like for the players to continue using this site to interact with the fans. I would too, it is a great way for fans to talk to players and keep up to date with how they are doing during the season.
Should clubs keep using twitter or does it create more hassle than it’s worth?