My name’s Stewart and I’m an addict.
Addicted to Twitter that is. I can’t spend long away from it, and can’t resist tweeting more and more often than I should. For someone who doesn’t have very much of value to say, I’ve offered the world an awful lot of opinion.
My wife describes me and my followers as ‘the twits’ and much of the time she’s not far wrong.
Most of my Twitter correspondents are Norwich fans, and I’ll come back to our discussions about City. But debate inevitably strays into more political areas, where sensible people – notably women – resist getting involved. I wish I could.
On reflection, it’s probably remarkable how many people you can have a reasoned argument with, given the constraints of 140 characters. They more than make up for the ones who tell me to do unpleasant – if not physically impossible – things to myself.
As a bonus, you can suddenly find yourself in direct contact with celebrities. I’ve had exchanges with Ed Balls and Stephen Fry (good experiences) and Piers Morgan and Kyle Lafferty (not quite so good). I’ve sent a number of suggestions to David Cameron – all of them physically possible – but I guess he must still be thinking about them.
So to the football, and specifically the Liverpool game. One day I’m sure I’ll be able to echo the pundits and rave about it being a goal-filled classic, but if you’re a fan on the receiving end it doesn’t remotely feel that way. ‘Gutted’, ‘stunned’ and ‘heartbroken’ come closest. So much good – Pinto’s bright start, a brilliant debut for Naismith and lots of pleasing interplay – buried under mistakes, individual and collective.
Of course, on returning home the first thing I turned to was Twitter. I must have a masochist tendency, for much of it was exactly as expected. If my primary feeling is disappointment, for others it’s blind anger – guttural rather than gutted.
Though yesterday was an extreme example, City tweeters fell into four categories that have become the norm. I’m enough of a social scientist not to claim that any social media group is representative of all supporters, but I suspect the four tweeting categories are to be found widely among Norwich fans. They are:
1. The Hysterics. Their postings littered with expletives and exclamation marks, this group is anxious to convey the strength of their feelings: “We need a whole new ****ing defence!!!” Their hallmark is getting carried away and hoping to take us with them – usually in a negative direction, but sometimes the opposite. Unlike….
2. The Compulsive Moaners. Though they share the certainty of the first group, this group is less strident and more sinister. They’re the Dementors of the City fan base, committed to sucking the life out of every positive feeling or streak of optimism. When things are going really well, they’re either silent or produce ingenious ways to turn positives into negatives; they’re the ones tweeting that Naismith and Klose weren’t regular starters, or “Why didn’t we sign them in the summer?”
3. The Realists. The saviours of the twittersphere. They don’t shy away from criticizing the club, and they hurt and bleed as much as any fan (see Gary Gowers’ piece on the Liverpool game). But they remember beyond the last game, and are conscious of our reality: as the 20th best resourced of the 20 clubs in the Premier League, survival means we have to do everything better than those other clubs. Most of the MyFootballWriter columnists are in this group, though they have their moments of straying into other categories.
4. The Happy Clappers. Yes, there are some – those who make too many allowances and don’t challenge the players and club when it’s deserved. While arguably not as destructive as the Compulsive Moaners, they do the club no service either. Like those at the top of politics or business, the players and management of our club will be better if they’re accountable.
Without being a Happy Clapper, I’m always pleased to hear good things about our club, and there are plenty. A welcome difference between Paul Lambert and Alex Neil is that Alex feels sufficiently settled in Norfolk to involve his family.
Hence I ended up chatting at half-time on Saturday to his father. As well as being a nice guy, he clearly has a shrewd brain for football. One of the things we discussed was the role Steven Naismith can play in the club, including giving help and guidance to the younger players.
He’s probably too sensible to be on Twitter, though.