The world of sport shows how Facebook and Twitter are reaching a tipping point
It’s interesting how technology creates fads and how the further we go, often the further we look back. Sometimes we look back to a technology we discarded long ago as being out of date only to realise that it would fit perfectly to our lives right now.
Take mobile phones, for example. They got smaller and smaller at first as life became more about portability. Then, when the portable nature of our communications began to be taken for granted, and we started to want more and more information on the go, phones started to get bigger and bigger again.
That’s just what happens when things tip too far in one direction.
Twitter and Facebook might find that out very soon themselves, and the sports industry is perhaps it’s best example.
Over the past number of years, as social media revolutionised how we watch and consume our sport and news, the line between celebrity and everyone else has become a bit blurred.
Now you can find sportspeople, journalists, fans and everyone else all on the same platform as equals. And yet, they’re not really equals – some fans have more followers than others, some are Twitter celebrities thanks to, well, something at least. Maybe it’s their wit, their ability to condense a situation into 140 characters, maybe it’s because they find the funny bits in the background no one notices and shares it with the wider world.
And now that both Twitter and Facebook both look intent on promoting their live broadcasting capabilities, we’ll probably get an even greater blurring. Now everyone can go live, even if they have nothing to say.
It no longer seems all that strange for normal people to want to set up their phone and perform a live broadcast themselves. But for most people, the question is, what are you broadcasting? And why should anyone tune in?
So maybe this is the tipping point, the moment where the line between the celebrities and the rest becomes clearer again.
Surely normal people won’t waste their time broadcasting nothing to their handful of followers. Isn’t it more likely that they tune in to watch journalists and commentators, experts and sports teams broadcast themselves? Isn’t it more likely that Twitter and Facebook become huge platforms for brands, teams and celebrities to get their message across rather than an even and equal platform where average Joe broadcasts as much as Kim Kardashian?
Maybe 2017 will be where we start to go the other way again. But then again, ‘it’s just a fad’ is what they said about Twitter and Facebook in the first place, right?
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Dan sat down with Mark Gilbert, until recently the Head of Digital Communications at The Football Association. Previous to that he worked at The Sun and News of the World, bringing together a great mix of sports and technology knowledge.