Twitter’s Deadline Day Duty


Jim White

It occurred to me while watching ‘transfer deadline day’ that it has been completely transformed by twitter. It got me thinking…what has twitter had the most profound effect upon? The very concept of ‘deadline day’ is a relatively new one; the transfer window was only made compulsory in the 2002/03 season before then the comings and going of professional footballers was a much more casual drawn out affair. Of course, Sky Sports have long since operated a real-time(ish) programme documenting and reporting on the latest rumours, done deals and last-minute dramas, and various internet sites have offered ‘as-it-happens’ update feeds, but never before has a medium offered such a multitude of opinion, insight and information. The show has even developed cult status among fans with its Scottish anchor: Jim White. But is it set to be snubbed in the eleventh hour?

Journalists perpetuate exclusives and inside information direct to their twitter feed as they hear it rendering their on location vox pop; over excited, slightly bewildered, “if you can hear me over the…as you can tell by the…just seen…look I’m on telly!” slightly passé, and well…a little obsolete. But it’s the interactive mass-engagement of the non-journalistic input which really makes it; contradicting and endorsing in equal high-velocity measures. It’s a fine example of two-way symmetrical communications, where the hierarchy of authoritative voices is tenderised and left to marinate through the evening.

It seems it was what twitter was born to do.

The zeitgeist is littered with #tags and pleads of “follow me…” but they mostly all seem like an afterthought, or a sorry attempt to earn acceptance into a brave new world; like an uncle dancing ‘Gangnam style’ at a Christmas party in an attempt to be a part of something that he erroneously considers resemble his stolen youth.

Some TV shows have successfully espoused their output with the dynamics of tweeters’ habits and created an imagined social space where interactivity augments the viewing pleasure; but examples of this are few and, alas, far between. The running commentary offered during channel 4’s ‘The Undateables’ gratifies me and there seems to be genuine audience interaction and participation when ‘Million Pound Drop’ is aired live, are there any others?

There must be other examples of twitter transforming the way we experience things, but I am struggling to suggest any phenomenon twitter has so overtly transposed.


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