AS Roma’s latest Twitter storm is a genre-defining work of art

The football transfer window closes on Thursday night, and that means an end to relentless speculation and transfer videos.

They are perhaps the one big trend which has marked the summer from a social media point of view. What was initially a case of harmless innovation led to one-upmanship and the kind of arms race nobody wanted.

Last week, Dan McLaren spoke to AS Roma’s Head of Digital, Paul Rogers, on the Digital Sport Insider podcast. Rogers pulled back the curtain on his own club’s approach to the genre, making the point that things had become so ridiculous that his club were going to take a stand against the pretentiousness and the fact that clubs were taking themselves too seriously on social.

It cast Roma’s videos in a new light and showed the irrelevance of the social media teams to the actual football. After all, they’re the people behind the curtain when it comes to the team itself. But not every club has seemed to understand that this summer. And it now appears that Roma were gearing up for one final assault on the pomposity of the trend.

Maybe the only way to end the descent into madness is to lead the charge further into the blackened depths. It’s no small mercy that the window is about to end.

But not before the arrival of what could well be the defining transfer announcement video of the summer: that final assault from Roma, their ‘announcement’ of their new signing Patrik Schick.

Schick is a sought after player, one of the stand-out footballers of last season’s Serie A and a man who was linked with plenty of big clubs all over Europe throughout the window. Roma are a big club too, but even so, his signing was a coup.

Yet if Roma fans were hoping to go onto Twitter and see their club create some sort of elaborate announcement to unveil their new player, though, they weren’t going to find it. They must know at this point that their club’s videos in this field aren’t produced in seriousness, but even still – what confronted them with the unveiling of Schick was a step beyond. It simply had nothing to do with the transfer apart from Francesco Totti holding up a piece of paper with Schick’s name coarsely photoshopped onto it. It had nothing to do with anything, in fact. Though that, of course, was the point.

In the context of the climate, it’s like a Dadaist work of art for the social media age. Whereas Marcel Duchamp’s work protested against the established art world and the growing Capitalist nature of the world, Roma are, in their own way, protesting against the pretentiousness of transfer videos on Twitter. On the face of it, the video makes no sense at all. But if there is even a point to be made below the surface, well, trying to decipher it leaves you in the unenviable position of vacantly staring at your computer screen trying to philosophise about the deeper meaning of a baboon bashing at a keyboard or a goat playing chess.

The point is that there is no point, and what could be a more fitting genre-defining video than that? The summer-long trend only served to make the social media accounts of football clubs the story at the expense of the actual footballing talent that clubs are welcoming into their ranks. What was wrong with the old method, when the players were the main attraction, and all they needed to do was wear the shirt and hold a scarf above their head?

And yet, despite their protests, Roma themselves are the story again. But thankfully after Thursday night’s deadline, digital teams can go back to being the people pulling the strings behind the curtains and stop taking the limelight away from their teams.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 480 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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