Raheem Sterling furore is the anatomy of a modern social media storm

Raheem Sterling’s new tattoo has been the subject of much media anger over the last few hours. Not even an Instagram Stories post explaining quite clearly what the body art means to him could stop the furore.

After being snapped in an England training session with a gun tattooed to his leg, the Three Lions attacker drew criticism. After posting on Instagram that his father had died at the hands of gun violence, and that the tattoo was a reminder that he should never get caught up in anything like that, there were plenty of people on social media who were understanding. Many leapt to his defence.

Ahead of every World Cup there is a debate around what the media’s role in England’s preparations should be. Negative headlines are par for the course – mostly because they generate clicks – but many justifiably feel that this has an impact on the team. It certainly doesn’t help.

As a result, many were quick to jump to Sterling’s defence on Twitter – or at least post that he should be left to honour his father’s death with a method of his own choosing, rather than be subject to the “demands” that some are making of him because of it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44285455

Social media was the catalyst for all of this. The snap in question was posted on Instagram by Sterling first before people started to comment on the tattoo. After that, the storm deepened on Twitter as more voices chimed in.

Soon, you’d imagine, the rage will die down and we’ll all get on with our lives, but this is the anatomy of a modern social media storm. The rest of us might be able to get back to normal again afterwards, but for those in the middle it’s much harder.

Sterling might be thick-skinned enough to deal with these things by now (he’s put up with a lot over the last few years) but this is still an example of a phenomenon that won’t be going away any time soon.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 731 posts

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

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