I read a tweet the other day as to how MyFootballWriter didn’t do endless breaking ‘news’ stories with regard to football transfers.
In the days and hours that lead up to the end of the latest transfer window, rumours of this player or that rocking up to Carrow Road are two to a penny.
And, rightly, we have neither the time nor the inclination right now to follow up every last ‘hot tip’.
We leave that to you.
Way, way back in the mists of time, MyFootballWriter was the first project to be funded by Channel Four’s now defunct 4iP Digital Innovation Fund.
It was December, 2008, and with a little bit of their cash we built the first #ncfc ‘Twitterfall’ that, to this day, chugs away on MyFootballWriter.
It is – and always was – designed as a rolling news service of #ncfc information and opinion.
A bit like a ticker-tape clattering away, 24/7, night and day.
Pulling in 140-character tweets tagged with #ncfc, filtering the stream for the worst of the Fs and Bs and then publishing them, waterfall-like across the site (there’s little we can do about Turkish models who decide #ncfc is for them).
And on the basis that none of us can be everywhere at once, letting that growing Twitter audience be our eyes and ears on the ground seemed to make sense.
With everyone now armed with a mobile phone and its inbuilt camera, so you had an army of citizen ‘reporters’ at your disposal. Boots on the ground.
Slapping a #ncfc tag into your Tweet merely gave us all a congregation point; a meeting place.
Equally for as long as the football club remains its own, increasingly formidable media entity, so anyone’s ability to bag an old-fashioned ‘exclusive’ is next to nil.
Premier League transfer news is big business – for those that can actually control the flow of said news into their own subscriber base. A ‘gated’ community that expects to be fed first news-wise in return for their monthly subscription fees.
Why witter on about all this?
Because of this.
That is *exactly* what that 4iP funding was designed to achieve all those years ago.
A piece of verifiable breaking news delivered exclusively to that #ncfc community by a boot on the ground – in this case by Phoebe (aka @Langerz9) of City’s loan signing Patrick Bamford in the car park of Carrow Road – a full eight hours before the club confirmed it, via – of course – Twitter.
And the wording of her Tweet was as telling: ‘Not a great photo but proof…’
Which is one of the bigger challenges in this whole space. In the age of instant news, minus a photo how does anyone verify such a claim?
But by being in the right place, at the right time – with both the nous and the kit to take full advantage of her ‘exclusive’ glimpse of the potential City new-boy – it was all classic trade craft.
For which Phoebe deserves every credit.
Going forward, of course, in my little world if you deliver free and ubiquitous wifi across a city such as Norwich, not only could Phoebe have pushed out a pic off her mobile, better still she could have broadcast a live, video update.
With that level of connection and the spiralling ability of our mobile phones to be a ‘TV’ camera, Phoebe now has the equivalent of a satellite uplink truck sat in the palm of her hand.
‘Let’s now go live to Carrow Road where we’re joined by Phoebe TV… What’s the latest, Phoebe? #ncfc’.
And as the Look East boys and girls race to get their act together and Archant go in search of their one, weekend duty photographer so Phoebe has the ‘news’ to herself – at least right up to the point with the club’s car park security staff start to intervene and protect ‘their’ news.
For those of us who have spent hours of our lives sat in the lobby of the old chairman’s office at the back of the River End, being fed cups of tea and biscuits by Fiona as the Old Man tweaked the final contract clause to his advantage – all in the knowledge that we had 18 hours to spare in terms of the next Evening News print deadline – it is another world.
But it is our future. Unfolding before our eyes.