THE MUCH used and quite frankly daft comment that gets bandied about when someone gets wound up by something they have seen or read online.
It’s easy to say. It is the internet. It is something that you can switch off. Yet it isn’t that simple to do or take on board. Why? Well it’s simple really – it’s still real life.
The internet is a wonderful thing. It’s hard to imagine a world without it now. Just like mobile phones, wondering what did your mum or dad do before them (or if you are old enough to remember, what you did before them), it’s hard to imagine a life without the internet. For a start, you wouldn’t be reading this now without it. (No jokes about how you wish it hadn’t been invented…)
The internet and all that it has recently brought with social media and connecting people around the world is invaluable. It’s why websites such as Facebook and Twitter are valued in the billions of pounds, when it’s an online version of a public gathering. And this is where my problem with the comment “It’s only the internet” begins.
You see, it isn’t. Just because it is behind a computer doesn’t stop it being people. It’s no different when talking to people in a pub as it is on the internet. It’s not the internet being a bellend. It’s not the internet hiding behind an anonymous username (or in some cases, a not so anonymous name) to then act like a bellend. The internet doesn’t type a bellend comment. The internet doesn’t give people a bellend persona. It’s a person, or better still, it’s a bellend being a bellend. They are probably a bellend in general, so whether it’s opening up the laptop or talking to a mate (if they’ve got any) then they are likely to say something as bellend-ish.
Now the rule of thumb I often apply when using the internet and posting on a forum, Twitter or Facebook under my own name and clearly identifiable, is “Would I say that to this person if I saw them face to face in the street?” If, as it usually is, the answer is yes, I will post it. It’s normal behaviour. The same behaviour people apply in any social environment. I wouldn’t call out someone, or call someone for something if I then didn’t have the bottle to say it to them given the opportunity. This is across all topics; football, politics, work, Hicks and Gillett, and across all audiences: mates, colleagues, people from the match, Hicks and Gillett. To do otherwise, in my mind, would make me a shithouse or as Boss Mag described it recently in an article about a similar topic – snide behaviour.
So if you’ve got to this point and aren’t nodding your head in agreement, you are probably thinking “What is this opinionated divvy going on about?” (Say it to my face you bellend!). So to better illustrate it, I will give you some examples:
When Skies Are Grey
We all know the ‘rivalry’ we as Liverpool supporters have with those from across the park. Many of us problem know some of them, from work, family or friends. Just like you very rarely get a blue mate call you a ‘Murderer’, sing their songs questioning the parentage of Gerrard’s kids, yet you wonder who the masses of people are singing it week in week out, I wonder who these internet divvies are posting on their forums about it. Surely they have red mates or family. Yet, surprise, surprise, I doubt they tell them what they post.
As you may know and my bio on this site mentions it, I was for a while well talked about on Everton forums, earning me the proud accolade of 11th Most Irritating Thing to Everton Fanzine When Skies Are Grey in the Summer of 2010. I kept a copy for posterity. I got told about a post on the forum of the same name, talking about me. However not their usual count how many times I say Liverpool topic, or marvelling at how great my coat collection is, this one went a bit further. A poster called ‘Char Siu’ was talking about my season ticket and how it wasn’t in my name. Not only that, he was talking about how he knew who the season ticket belonged to and how he would love to grass me up to Liverpool so they can take it off me. Now such a comment might usually be laughed off. Yet this person obviously knew me. He was correct that the season ticket isn’t in my name. How did he know this? I knew there were very few who actually knew this information. After a bit of digging, I realised who it was. I posted on said forum, giving his real name and told him he could get in touch with me if he had a problem seeing as he was a Facebook friend. It turned out he had been told I had said something about him. As opposed to asking me directly, a post under a fake name was more suiting. Sad really.
Go on any Man Utd or Everton forum, go to search and type any of the above in. There will be dozens of threads. Then read the usernames. Not one will be a real name. Now if they want to post this on their forums, we can’t stop them. It’s when they step out of their little ‘virtual pub’ and come in to your local. When they start spouting their bile on Liverpool forums, it’s too far. Not because they might upset people but because they wouldn’t dare have the bottle to walk into a pub at Anfield on match day and say it. For all those who sang about Michael Shields, none dared knock on his house, even though they all knew where it was, and say “Your Michael deserves that the redshite bastard”. Why? Because they are shithouses. Just like those who thought it would be boss to post my name and number on Man Utd forums. They thought it would arse me, yet my number was already out there. I don’t think they grasped irony when they were calling me a shithouse online or over the phone, whilst posting anonymously or withholding their phone number.Scot Williams posted an article on here entitled 37. Some sad individual decided to post anonymously on the comments and on Twitter of how it was our fault and Liverpool fans just wanted compensation. The scariest part is this individual seemed to genuinely believe it, reaffirming his views with tweet after tweet. Thegtcornholio – Were you neglected as a child? Locked in the shed? Did your bird make you piss yourself or something? Get a life.
And remember, you don’t always remain anonymous online. One day, you might have to claim “I’m Liverpool mate”.
Hicks and Gillett/Spirit Of Shankly
I will be the first to tell you that not everything was perfect in the campaign to get rid of Hicks and Gillett. “You should have done this”, “Don’t do that”, “Do this” or “I don’t agree” were often aired, sometimes at meetings or talking to mates. Criticism is something you have to take. You put yourself above the parapet, you have to expect people to take a shot. What I never expected was the snipers. Especially the lying ones. Forums were full of it at the very beginning. Criticise or tell me what you think and I will try and debate it with you – do it anonymously and I’ll laugh, pity you for a split second and think “Bell-end”. Fair play to the only individual to date who took me up on the offer of talking about it as adults. A grown up conversation ensued. To date the faceless gimps who bottled it – Your loss, you could have spoken to that lad off the tele!
The invention of the internet has catapulted social media to the must have for a lot of people. Smart phones mean we have the ability to speak to people around the world at the tip of our fingers at any given time. With great power comes great idiocy for some. Seriously, stop slagging off Paul Tomkins because he writes something you don’t agree with. Stop hating Rory Smith because he writes better than you and uses words you still can’t spell even when copying from him! It’s fucking sad. Just because you follow someone, you aren’t their mate. Of course comment. But don’t be a snide. It doesn’t make you funny, entertaining, or hard. Do you go off telling your imaginary mates how hard you are because you told @LucasLeiva87 he was shite? I suppose that makes you hard. Well done. You’re the Cock of Twitter. Literally.
Now this might be a surprise inclusion. How can you be anonymous on a site you give your name in on and post pictures for mates to see? Simple – you create fake accounts to ask strange questions or cause people hassle by getting in touch with people’s family. Seriously, what’s the point? Especially when you find out said person posts on a Liverpool forum. Maybe he craves the 15 minutes of fame that he turned down when he helped out a former Liverpool Director.
Now I’m not going to criticise those having a go at the power of Murdoch. Nor am I going to even mention that rag by name or its departed Sunday sister. All fair game. What isn’t fair game is the criticism of Tony Evans or Tony Barrett because they work for The Times. I know both personally. Both brilliant people, as well as hugely talented in what they do. Aside from that, they are the same as most of us – proper reds, who care about this club and the city and who have done more for this club and its supporters than anyone gives them credit for or they will ever admit.
The ultimate employer of the paper they work for is nothing to do with them. Don’t try and dilute our fight against rightful targets by trying like some kind of ‘hero’ to tar them with the same brush. You are way wide of the mark. If you don’t think you are, go and ask any of the Hillsborough groups who will tell you how wrong you are. But you won’t do that because it would mean putting your keyboard down for two minutes and having to do something grown up and with anonymity you shitbags! If you want to slag them off for something rightful– Ask Barrett why he claims he lives in Fairfield when it’s Kensington. Or his driving!
I could go on and on and on.
Sometime it’s the not so anonymous ones who make you wonder “What is he on about?” most. Take a certain member of the newly formed LFC Supporters Committee. He took great offense to the actions of Spirit Of Shankly in arranging travel for members to the TUC Rally in London on 26th March. No problem there. We all have opinions. We can take it on the chin. Talk to us. He got in touch, emails were exchanged and answers given. He didn’t like the answers. So, behaving as any grown up would he set up a Kop profile and a website to compare a democratic, TUC backed, co-operative to Stalinism. All this from an individual who told the selection panel for the committee how he was a Spirit Of Shankly member and a supporter of Trade Unions and Co-Operatives.
The internet – a breeding ground for mad, made up stories.
People who just make up mad stories of how Spirit Of Shankly is a front for the IRA making money out of supporters by selling biros.
But I will stop for now. Because if you’ve got this far you probably agree with me.
If you gave up halfway through or even before, I was probably talking about you or you think I’m boring and will no doubt tell me on Twitter.
Save yourself the bother and click unfollow.
I’m not arsed.
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