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.
This user is offline
I know this is slightly off at a tangent, but one thing that I’ve not seen talked about much, and direct relates to this article and the explosion of the internet use and FSG’s plans to push our brand further globally is the responsibility of the club (and I suppose sites like this too) is to instill the ethos of the club and why we’re different to the Man Uniteds and Chelseas to the new fans it creates.
I grew up just outside Liverpool and was lucky enough to have people who understood the Liverpool way, what it is and why we are lucky to have it. Having emigrated to Gibraltar due to work, I can see first hand Liverpool supporters, who follow the club, wear the shirt but don’t get WHY that shirt is different to the rest.
A case in point is the 15 year old lad from Saudi Arabia (I forget his name) who rightly got slaughtered for calling for Carra to be dropped after the Stoke defeat last week. He got a pasting from everyone, quite a few established sites included, for airing his views. Instead of telling him how wrong he is, who is there to put the arm round him and tell him why we don’t operate like that?
I don’t want to turn this into another out-of-towners debate, I clearly think that ship has sailed now. We’re a global club – we have to be. The internet has seen to that, FSG need us to be that. We need to be that to compete against the Man Cities, Malagas and PSGs of the world and their Oil fed millions. I think that as we increase the fanbase, there is a responsibility for each fan who has been lucky enough to be brought up properly to share how we act and operate with those who only have access to the club over the internet.
A fine and heartfelt post Jay:
What ‘Bell-Ends’ (stress the ENDS) fail to realise of course, is that what they say about ‘others’ says more about ‘them’.
People with brains instinctually know that if someone is talking behind someone else’s back, it’s because that someone else is way ahead of them.
Most ‘Bell-Ends’ (like the recently imprisoned Sean Duffy), have abandonment issues, insecurities and/or a craving to regain a power once taken from them.
Simply put, they’re shit-houses who probably just need a cuddle.
A very well written article making a lot of valid points. Nice work, Jay.
Haha! Stalinism? I’ll give them Stalinism.
All online personas should be logged to National Insurance numbers and addresses and under-16s can be disenfrancised from the web. Deals with both the grooming of youngsters by nonces and the bigger issue of gobshites on the internet.
Bang. Complain about that, rather than a few coaches.
There are bellends at every club, but that’s not why I’m writing.
I can honestly say, with my hand on heart, that I have NEVER heard any song about Hillsborough. I keep haring this nonsense from Liverpool fans about this song, and I go every home game and some away. I have never heard it.
The other nonsense you mention, only Heysel gets an airing on Derby Day.
This I feel is the difference between 2 sets of fans. You lot come all over all “Holier Than Thou”, while conveniently airbrushing songs about Lescott, Carsley’s kids, rocking ambulances and shit throwing.
Pissing on nurses anyone?
We know there’s nobheads who follow Everton, I stopped going the majority of aways because of our nobs. We admit it, you lot seem to claim sainthood of everyone in red.
Another thing, why is there always trouble whenever Everton score at Anfield?
Pissing on what nurses? Care to explain?
As for rocking ambulances – You might want to stop believing myths. And re-read the article, you might see I’ve not said it’s only Evertonians. Otherwise the article would refer to bellend Evertonians on the internet. It doesn’t though, it refers to bellends on the internet.
It’s not all about you’se you know….
Using the web to slag people who use the web to slag people.
Jonah, I’m not slagging off people who use the internet. I’m slagging people off who use anonymity to then slag people off. Many people have anonymous names but don’t post shite or as an opportunity to act different.
messin! good post
Mark, there is trouble at both grounds when opposing teams score. I’ve seen it in the Gwladys recently and years ago, I’ve seen bluenoses bouncing around the heart of kop at 5.15 when everyone had fucked off, people were getting slaps aots… you’re post is typical of the behaviour you criticise
Cracking article. Sides bursting with head nodding in agreement. TAW is fucking great. Saves me wading through some of the shite on various forums. Keep them coming.
Great read jay. I see this rubbish everyday on twitter. And im sure you do. And there’s never a name or a face. The thing is. There isn’t anything we can do about it and it will never stop.
Regarding the personal abuse you’ve suffered… Your in the limelight mate. Making a name for yourself. People will always try and shoot you down lad. It’s the Internet. It’s a shitbags dream.
Keep the articles coming too lad. Don’t be lazy.
When outing people on The Internet, you have to bear something very important in mind. Always be sure that you can prove the person making the comment or posting the opinion or the libellous statement is actually that person. You see, just because you can track and trace someone to a particular machine doesn’t necessarily prove who is using it.
Fact: A snippet of useless information. The Internet doesn’t really exist. It comes into being when 2 or more people share a connection via a medium, beit wired or wireless. When that connection is dropped then for those people, The Internet isn’t there.
Sometimes when people whine and moan about being abused on The Internet they fail to understand that their input into the medium is going to create a reaction from those with different views, opinions, beliefs etc and in taking part in something that can attract these diverse reactions one must realise that if you choose to play in the jungle then you should understand that there are wild animals in there.
The Internet is relatively new and currently difficult to police as far as rules and regulations go. No doubt, things will move on as new technologies emerge and perhaps one day we will see an internet connection that is fully traceable with rules set in place to ensure that each contributor is a known entity to all who share that connection. Given the fact that BT can’t even ensure that we can properly trace who is actually talking to us, it’s probably going to take a long time.
Another thing you have to bear in mind is that anonymity is also a right so long as it’s not abused. Some people are in positions that would seriously affect their lives if they were to be exposed or they may have family who have a right to privacy and these people, although still anonymous, now have a medium in which they can purge themselves or vent and this is quite beneficial in regards to physical and mental health. I would agree that the problems arise when the anonymous act in ways that are truly hurtful and not just personal opnions that they have a right to express.
What I would say is that people who use The Internet should learn to develop thicker skins when dealing with words on their monitors that don’t really threaten their lives in any way – perhaps go to work on their sense of self-worth a little. Chill out, people……there’s an on/off button on most social networking devices that put you in the jungle.
JESUS – READ THE ARTICLE PROPERLY BEFORE COMMENTING YOU IDIOTS! WELL WRITTEN PIECE JAY!
“JESUS – READ THE ARTICLE PROPERLY BEFORE COMMENTING YOU IDIOTS! WELL WRITTEN PIECE JAY!”
This is all in upper case. Are you shouting for some reason?
By the way; Jesus is a fairy tale character and there are commas after “commenting” and “piece”
Talk about idiots…..lol
Calm down, Ivan – it’s only The Internet……ha!
Great post Ben, you should develop that thought into an article. Too many fans adopt the Purslow view that the club exists solely to win trophies rather than the Shankly creed that it exists to make the people happy.