Over the past decade, social media has changed the world, and subsequently changed football forever. Nowadays the pressure is amplified, and so too are issues like racism, homophobia and toxic masculinity from bigots able to hide behind a screen. Xhulio Zeneli explores the positives and negatives around social media, and how it has changed football forever.
As for everything new in the world, for every change there is a debate as to whether it has brought more positive or negative outcomes. We are currently seeing that debate ongoing with VAR, and it’s no different with social media. Recently players, clubs, pundits and writers around the world even took a hiatus from social media in protest of the issues still going on that they feel social media companies are not doing enough to stop.
Meanwhile, all of the aforementioned stakeholders use social media as marketing tools, business and branding management, and as a platform to voice their opinions. They use social media as inspiration for others, particularly engaging with youth who may see them as role models for their futures.
Nowadays, fans can feel closer to their clubs than ever before. Social media has enhanced the fan experience, as fans now have more platforms to connect, debate and share ideas. They can use social media to read news and articles, increasing their knowledge of the game in the process, while also connecting to their favourite players, teams and managers fairly easily.
Another positive to social media usage in football is that players can use it as a tool to increase the likelihood that they will be recruited into a professional club. Just about every youngster these days has social media, and can use things like Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to post videos, connect with future coaches, and gain useful tips to grow their game.
While social media has provided some positive outcomes, it’s also brought several negative ones. The pressure on players and those involved in the game is greater than ever. Anyone working or playing in the game suffers daily abuse from strangers on social media hiding behind a keyboard. This is one of the main reasons why those individuals and clubs were so easily able to leave the platforms a few weeks ago during their protest. Things like racism, homophobia and gender inequalities have never been more cruelly exposed than the current time that we live in, in large part due to social media and the ease at which individuals can send hateful messages. It’s easy to see why so many players and so many managers opt not to engage on social media at all.
So although social media in football provides both good and bad outcomes, it is undeniably part of the game and something that is becoming part of the lexicon that those working professionally have to both manage and deal with to a great extent. It’s unquestionable however that social media companies should be doing more to stop the bad behaviours online, and help enhance the positive outcomes of these apps instead. If they sit back and do nothing, social media’s impact on the beautiful will only get worse, and suddenly the beautiful game will not be so beautiful anymore.
So there it is! How social media changed football. Be sure to check out more articles by Xhulio Zeneli and consider becoming a paid subscriber for just $1 per month. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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