Peace and Love

 

More meta. This was relevant a couple of weeks back but never got to publish it.

 

You can have an opinion and believe in it unequivocally. I'm not talking about the ones which only serve narcissistic personal attention to shock or troll or to direct and deflect hate towards others when attempting to validate your own words. Although I guess it's all subjective. Regardless, the opinion is still your own. It exists no matter the medium it's shared on. It shouldn't change or be forced to change (at that particular point in time, obviously opinions can still evolve).

So if you say something in a pub, on the phone, by text, in a Whatsapp group, on Facebook, on Twitter, on a blog, in a comments section, on a forum or God forbid on a podcast...the opinion is defined by the fact you believe in it and shared it publicly. It's not defined by the platform it sits on. It's not defined by any exclusive or non-exclusive meta-membership you might have been branded with (by yourself or by others). It's not defined. Or rather, it shouldn't be defined.

How relevant is the actual platform?

If you're saying it to shock or troll or direct unwanted attention onto others, it's pivotal. It probably allows you to reach more people, not just your audience but the followers of others and their followers and so on. All hail that re-tweet and shared link. It's still your opinion, no matter the filter it travels through. How it's amplified isn't necessarily in your control thanks to the viral nature of social media but then you should be more than prepared for the feedback, praise or criticism.

The right platform can help the amplification, especially if you want people beyond your own audience to know what you're stating. Hence why you might exaggerate or say something that you know will resonate, for good or bad. Context can also be pulled apart like some poor bastard enduring medieval torture. It's powerful no matter your honesty or dishonesty.

Writing an article or saying it on a podcast doesn't make it any more or less important either. Unless of course you're calling everyone thick and behave condescendingly, but then again, that's happened online since the early days of Usenet. People dicking other people off. If you dare to break things down into extreme detail, I guess that's when you might be accused of basking in too much self-importance. 

Cough.

Are people that blog or podcast a little more involved with their opinion than someone that just tweets - even though there's an argument that tweeting is still about delivering content to an audience, just at a far more casual level? Yeah. Sure. Some are heavily invested in brand and image and others like to tow the line especially if they are being paid for their viewpoint. Some just like the attention, any attention. They love the sound of their own voice.

You want me to cough again, don't you?

I guess that's why there is so much aggression aimed towards bloggers, writers, stats nerds and the like. They are perceived as self-appointed spokespeople for the supporters - but that perception isn't exactly fair. Everyone online is published in some way or form.  Bloggers and football writers don't sit on a throne. They are more likely to wear a crown of thorns and be crucified and mocked.

The same can be said for anyone that breaks beyond the casual sharing of their stream of consciousnesses. If you're very vocal, you're going to be a target. Equally so, you'll have people that enjoy or agree with what you say. There's no doubt they'll also be targeted. This works with small audiences all the way up to huge followings. There's no discrimination here but the bigger the following, the bigger the target.

This blog might as well be Twitter without the 140 word count limit. I don't talk on behalf of Spurs fans, I talk for myself and if you agree or disagree I'm fairly certain you'll let me know. If I disagree with something or someone, I'll certainly let them know. I represent me and don't owe anyone anything. Even if running a blog means some readers expect grammatically error free articles (get real, never gonna happen m8). The self-appointed stuff kicks in if, say for example, I slag off Stubhub or promote a particular mindset on a struggling player (I was called 'cliched' the other day for criticising Erik Lamela). It's more so the former.

'How dare he tell me what to think?' 

I'm not doing that. I'm telling you how I think. Your insecurities might be distorting the transition. Although I've had a pop at certain mindsets in the past, especially over Stratford and there was all that business around the time of the 1882 movement that p*ssed off a lot of people. But you're going to defend what you believe in, right? Again, it's very subjective. At what point does it shift beyond a discussion and into the realms of abuse and bullying and whatever other term that might (or might not) fit the bile aimed between warring factions of the fan-base?

If people do agree with what I say, there's no difference between how I share my thoughts compared to someone that has no website (aside from the technicalities of word count and the potential audience reach). If I didn't have a blog or a podcast I'd still say the same thing. I guess I'd be called a pod fanboy or a blog sycophant. Or more likely, they wouldn't know my opinion because I'd be sharing it in the pub or at work and not digitally for others and randoms to see.

Football can pretty much be boxed up. There's hardly an infinite amount of unique insights you could pull from it. For the most part, we all see the same thing - we just say it differently. Which is why originality (especially with website content) is important for anyone that wants to deviate from the vanilla mainstream that has to appeal to a wider cross section of readers (and still somehow please them all).

Hence why so much content is tailored towards being quick fixes of information because people are soooo busy with other stuff they have no time to read something with depth. Although it probably has more to do with the reality that everyone has a voice and instant access to their fifteen minutes of fame. It also means we aren't that fussed about being told something we probably already know and have already shared on our timeline.

Do I want people to know my opinion? Well sure, everyone on social media wants that. Some even listen to feedback and encourage differing views so they can test their resolve on certain discussion points. For others, it's a one way street and they don't care about the voices from across the way.

What's my point?

I don't know. Maybe people group into different social tribes and then look to others with conflicting opinions to attack but can only do so with vindication if they're also tagged with a label. You have to be able to stereotype the opposition so others can then instantly know what's going on and stand beside you in battle. I'm guilty of this too. Sometimes I cite 'Twitter' as the other side. It's generalising an entire platform rather than attempting to fragment groups within it. A bit like just saying 'Tottenham Hotspur fans' rather than a particular tribe within the fan-base like 'people that listen to podcasts'.

In the end, it's just people siding with people they agree with and have an affiliation. The whole label and tagging and stereotyping is there to add fuel to the fire. 

Maybe I'm needy or maybe I'm cursed with my affliction to have to constantly write down a diary of thoughts. But there you go, I write a lot. Other Spurs fans probably just drink a lot instead.

Someone that blogs, podcasts or whatever is still a Spurs fan as much as someone that doesn't. Superiority (online) is mostly because of insecurity. Either by those that claim the people they are attacking think they're better or because they want something to belittle to strengthen their own opinion and pretend they're not at all acting like the superior ones. It works in both ways. Being a dick is also compulsory for any specific platform accessed because most of the time you need to be one to be heard. 

From one supporter to another, regardless of how they wish to preach and no matter the soap box they stand on, we are all Tottenham. People are a mixed bunch and you can hate someone as much as you can love the next one regardless of the team they support. Everyone has a right to question an opinion, perhaps even laugh at it. Perhaps even write satirical letters taking the p*ss. Of course, if you do act superior or just say things for effect (and it's transparent), then you're bound to get a reaction. In those cases, you can't really complain.

The massive get-out clause depends on just how serious you take it all. How offended are you with what someone else cares to share or attack? There's also the ugly issue of attacking someone on a personal level. This is by far the biggest issue. Our avatars tend to offer very limited protection. Unless you are completely anonymous, there is no hiding place.

Maybe tagging people into different groups by the platform they use is the only way mass hysteria can be generated. Anger is easily the most natural of all emotions, it's the most dramatic and the one that will always attract the most attention. Conflict is mankind's number one pastime. Pitchforks and fire, weapons of choice. I wrote this article to process it for my own personal consumption, whilst I'm positive over on Twitter there's probably a fifty character tweet (with accompanying emoticon) calling me a w*nker that the user has strategically chosen not to @ me with. 

There isn't a right way to do any of this. We are all broadcasting ideas and perspective and none of us are true experts in the field of discussion, just participants. Football is a sport which means what I see can easily be the complete opposite of what you see. The blind leading the blind in a big brawl in the dark.

We all have to accept criticism in amongst the praise. Some are lost in the echo chamber they've built themselves and simply seek others to enable further noise to block out all other sounds. Confirmation bias is a popular badge of honour, with everyone accusing each other of wearing it on their chest. 

I guess the point is; Don't take life too seriously.

Probably should have just tweeted those five words.