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Friday, 14 January 2011

Leeds United players & Twitter; How close is too close?!?


Having been writing on this site now for almost a year it has become apparent that there is a large Leeds United community out there on the World Wide Web. Regular ‘surfers’ (what happened to that term?!?) will be familiar with the likes of  The Scratching Shed & ClarkeOneNil as the most frequent posters of supporter opinion on all things Leeds United. I’m sure the people who write on those respective sites have inspired the several other Leeds United blogs to spring up and join the growing online presence of Leeds United. (Several of these sights can be found in our links section)

These blogs make for interesting reading, a welcome alternative to the predictable, regurgitated headlines that arise on the National and International news websites. It goes without saying that individual opinion is very much at the forefront of every post and usually the product of a rollercoaster of emotion that seems almost inevitable with The Whites recently, and herein lies the problem…

We are very fortunate to reside in a state in which freedom of speech is regarded as a given right, and the advent of amateur journalism that ‘blogging’ encourages is testament to that stance. However, following our recent match against Portsmouth in which Andy O’Brien was bizarrely credited with two own goals, the second following an almost comical mix-up with Kasper Schmeichel that cost us two valuable points could easily have made for a very difficult situation…

Having been in attendance at the Pompey match, and endured the mixture of emotions that throwing away a two goal lead for the second time in three days would bring, I could easily have leapt onto this site and vented my anger at another capitulation. In theory I could have wrote a post from within the stadium on my phone, with emotions red raw. It would have been very easy to lambast Messrs O’Brien and Schmeichel and if I had felt it necessary, wrote exactly what I thought of them… after all, that's the beauty of the blogging medium.

As it happened, I felt nothing negative towards the two lads, aside from the fact I would have been a lot happier had they not combined to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory, but that’s football.

But what if I had attacked them? Several professional footballers have angered me sufficiently over the last 12 months to prompt a post. Harry Kewell being the one that immediately springs to mind. As many of you will be aware, the posts on this site, and most blogs  are automatically transmitted through the various social networks. One of those networks being Twitter, the real time news site that has become the online home of celebrities and journalists. It won’t surprise you to learn that there are a few current Leeds United first team players on Twitter, namely; Sanchez Watt, Lloyd Sam, Andy O’Brien and Kasper Schmeichel.

Had I, or any other of the football related blogs decided that the draw with Portsmouth was the direct responsibility of Mr O’Brien and Mr Schmeichel, chances are the players would read exactly what had been written. And while they are professional footballers and are used to dealing with criticism from the national press, it’s a whole different story when a blogger has free rein to say what he or she likes, free from the libellous checking  pen of an editor. While I follow the tweets of the players myself and enjoyed Kasper Schmeichel’s video tweet of his and Alex Bruce’s coach trip to Reading (found here), I did find myself changing my mind over countering an Arsenal fan’s claim that Sanchez Watt ran the show at The Emirates and it was only he that kept us in the game… Whilst I didn’t agree with the comment, and probably even Sanchez Watt himself would agree that he struggled to affect the game as much as he’d have liked – I didn’t want him to read what I thought, a comment that would have inevitably have been ‘retweeted’ around the ‘Twitter Whites’ back to Sanchez, who as a young player needs all the confidence he can get.

So where do we go from here? I’m not naive enough to think that footballers never ventured online until the emergence of Twitter but now comments and supporter opinion are almost emailed to them. Ryan Babble discovered last week how the power of Twitter can land you in hot water when he posted an edited image of Howard Webb sporting a Manchester United shirt. If I remember correctly, Leeds United’s largest supporter forum, WACCOE was taken offline a few months ago to address a libellous comment from one of it’s members. How long will it be before a blog receives a formal letter from a solicitor??

Follow The 'Dirty Leeds' Blog on Facebook, Twitter, RSS News Feeds, E-mail Subscriptions and our YouTube Channel.

For those interested in following the Leeds players, you can find them here;

@kpschmeichel1     @lloyd_sam     @sanchezwatt     @AndyOBriens


1 comment:

  1. How long will it be before a blog carries a libellous comment that lands the host in hot water? Well, how about now?

    Emmanuel Adebayor is a big fan of sticking his... ah no, I can't do it to you mate ;)


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