The method in the Roma Twitter madness

Another week, another piece about AS Roma’s English language Twitter account.

The Italian giants’ season might be over, but then again this is the time of year when they really come into their own. Last summer’s transfer window was the beginning of a craze in the announcements of new signings amongst football clubs. The creativity came from all levels of the footballing pyramid and spread over all countries. But ask any fan with their finger on the Twitter pulse which club stood out as the maddest and baddest last summer and they’ll tell you it was Roma.

This year, the wacky transfer announcement videos appear to have died a death, though clearly this has to be only a half truth: Roma’s output has only become more daring and on an even more prolific scale in the last few months. There will definitely be more fun along the way.

And more was stirring last week, in fact. Though this time it wasn’t among football fans who were following a Champions League game or looking out for transfer news – this time it was digital professionals within the sports industry who were caught in a tizzy by the Italian giants’ Twitter account.

Tweeting that the club were looking for proposals from digital agencies interested in pitching to run the club’s next transfer video, Roma were either trolling magnificently or running the perfect search. You can imagine the scene at digital agencies hoping to put work for Roma on their portfolios frantically setting up war rooms and cobbling together a proposal before the impossibly tight deadline – just a few hours, and with the promise that the successful agency would hear back early the next morning.

Recently, the club has been innovative in reaching out to others within the digital space in order to collaborate – Roma used smaller social media or content creation sites like Fastory and Steller last season, for example. So maybe it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that they actually did want to reach out to agencies they might like to work with in the future. Indeed, the tight deadlines are explainable – coming up with a transfer announcement can take place over days and weeks if you know the player’s coming, but in many cases you might only have a few hours to actually create with an original and compelling creation from start to finish. When you look at it from that angle, maybe it was a serious offer and the tight deadlines were just a necessary part of the selection process.

In the meantime, Roma had taken to announcing transfers to other clubs…. Irish centre back Damien Delaney signed for Cork City this month, and Roma were keen to ‘announce’ the transfer after the League of Ireland club did. There’s some sort of story behind that, as Roma tweeted a strange thank you to the former Crystal Palace man back in May, but it certainly reinforces the Italian club’s quirkiness to most onlookers.

This week, there’s been more fun, though a slightly different take on a transfer announcement. This time, when Justin Kluivert arrived in Rome, Roma’s social accounts provided full coverage of his arrival, rather than create an off-the-wall video for the officialisation of his transfer.

It speaks once again to the team being different. There’s a reason that clubs don’t announce transfers until they’ve happened – things can change. But when you’re confident of getting the deal over the line, why not be transparent about the announcement? You know the media outside of the club will be covering it, so why should Roma stay silent when it comes to information every else already knows? Why not own it?

Roma are getting tonnes of coverage because of the fact they are seen as a club who gave a fan the keys to the account, but the thing is, there’s most definitely a method in the madness. Maybe the fact that the club have an English language account and another, perhaps more official, Italian language output means that the smaller one can be braver. But this summer, we’re sure that whatever the method, there’ll be even more madness to come.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 635 posts

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

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