There can be no doubt about how much the Internet has significantly changed our world.
Over the years, this man-made, ethereal spider’s web has connected everyone to everything. You can now tour the streets of Paris, read the greatest works of literature, or watch Neville Chamberlain declare “peace in our time” without even leaving your toilet seat, which thanks to the iPhone, is where most people enjoy their wifi-enabled existence.
For better or worse, we now live in an environment of absolute-instance, where everyone’s actions – from Hollywood A-Listers to your neighbour’s cat, can be immediately reached by hundreds of millions of people during our ever-shortening days.
Twitter is almost without doubt the main source of our newfound craving for content. I remember when it first launched everyone kind of sneered at it, claiming that it’ll only be used to let everyone know you were doing the dishes.
As of March 2010, we were uploading 21 billion bytes of data per month. At the turn of the new millennium, it was estimated that the sum total of all information ever produced by humans was around 12 billion bytes. Not bad, when you realise the Internet actually weighs the same as a grain of sand.
All that aside, what I really want to talk about, in this article at least, is how all this brave new world has affected the transfer market.
I would imagine that, like on most things nowadays, it has had an impact but not being an agent, I can only speculate on how significant that impact is. For example I just ran three searches on Twitter. In one I typed in “EPL Transfer Rumours”, in another “SAFC” and in the third “Football Agent”. The results were pretty spectacular.
It seems that just on this website alone (God knows what the forums look like) people are buzzing away at unconfirmed reports, overheard conversations and rumours cultivated by sources “close to the player”. With around 60 new messages popping up every minute, these scraps of meat get devoured instantly, feasted upon by the pack of hungry dogs that are 21 Century football fans.
All this, combined with the introduction of the transfer windows a few years ago, have helped to create a bottle-neck effect. Before we all lived our lives in relative simplicity – players could come and go as they or their clubs pleased. It seems strange to us now that someone who started the season in one strip could be wearing another by Christmas.
Now that we are no longer forced to wait for the morning paper or the ten o’clock news we spend our days speculating over it all at work, in the school yard or down the pub to a much finer degree.We can instantly search rumours out faster than a pig can find a truffle, as we sit around our tables like wives in a sowing circle.
Is it good? I don’t know. Being someone who hates micro-management, I find it all a little tedious but I suppose it adds to the drama and excitement of what eventually becomes a bigger picture, like a real-life teaser trailer for Hollywood’s latest blockbuster film (funnily enough, I’ve also started trying to avoid those, too).
It’s strange when you think about it, as in reality it’s all just becoming background noise and we’re so many birds chirping on the power lines. In that respect Twitter is possibly the most perfect name for a product or service ever.
What is the use of all this information, though? Can it influence a player’s final decision? Possibly. At the time of writing this article Sunderland and Newcastle were bidding for the same Ajax midfielder, Vurnon Anita, causing the fans to instantly wage a war of words,seemingly losing sight of the fact that he may decide to go with another team entirely.
I think it has even become irrelevant if he’s any good as a player or not, so long as one side gets to pull a quick one over the other.
The Internet has allowed rival fans to interact with each other more easily, too. Last week a Newcastle fan using the handle @Billy_SMB was sending some pretty ridiculous, and frankly laughable, Tweets to Seventy3’s account and also to other Sunderland supporters.
I sent him a message asking him what he expected to achieve by exerting his energies in this way. He didn’t reply and minutes later he’d flown the coup by deleting his account. I was genuinely interested in hearing his answer and now I’ll never know. My doctor has prescribed me some pretty decent sleeping pills to get over it.
Eventually, though, we all get sucked into the furor – I suppose now it’s all about choosing when and to what degree.