There was a talk-in last night at Rainton Meadows Arena. Similar to the ones we already reported on in February, however at this one, it seems the club scored a bit of a PR own-goal.
I'll start off by admitting, I wasn't there, nor were any of our team to my knowledge, but following the story on Twitter and various other fansites around the internet made for compelling reading.
Basically a fan who was there announced he was going to tweet any interesting stuff from the talk-in. No big deal? Yes in the eyes of SAFC, as @SAFCOfficial noticed what was happening and kindly asked the fan to stop,
It was it appears made aware that Niall Quinn didn't want everything he said to be tweeted to a bigger audience, as some things he wanted to remain 'off the record' and not made into headlines... this is my first bone of contention - If you think something shouldn't be said or repeated, perhaps don't tell the tale to the 400 or so people in attendance?
Its reported that Niall even asked during the talk-in "Whoever is still tweeting can they stop" and it would appear that the fan in question did stop, unless I missed something.
Not that that stopped the media in attendance from getting uppity. Or rather one in particular - Simon Bird from The Mirror and for anyone who hasn't read his work, seems very openly a Newcastle fan.
Whilst others remained quiet, Bird went on to criticise the fans for tweeting, although each tweet couldn't be read without the smell of fear that something he was going to claim 'exclusive' the next day was being undone.
Now then Simon - I'm not sure why you were so enraged. You get your press conferences on a weekly basis, breaking whatever Brucey and co tell you, and have more access than any of us could dream. The fans do not have any of this. Let them have just one moment eh?
However SAFC, and indeed Niall by asking for the Twitter black out seem to have shown themselves to be out of touch with modern media. Twitter nowadays is a very useful social tool. What difference is tweeting as opposed to back in the older days where you'd go to an event like this, and tell your mates down the pub, who in turn tell their mates etc.
Everyone with a semi-decent mobile phone or computer could easily have gone last night, got home, and put it out for everyone to read. I fail to see whether information reported either live or within minutes of the talk-in ending makes much difference.
Unless there's some sort of confidentiality agreement signed upon getting the tickets, what harm has really been caused?
In an age where across the pond media and even people from this site can 'Live Tweet' from a federal courthouse, at one of the biggest sporting trials in recent years - the Barry Bonds trial - whether 400 people packed into Rainton Meadows Arena should be banned from tweeting light-hearted banter.
As for the night itself it appears Niall, Brucey et al were in good form, and everyone who did go seems to have had a thoroughly good time, and once again the club should be applauded for allowing fans such an experience.
Overall though, regarding the tweet ban... could it have been handled differently? Could it be another case of Niall speaking then thinking? Yes. Which we've seen happen on plenty occasions.
Seems that the club didn't want 'headline news' to come from a tweet, when they in turn caused news by not allowing news. Does that make sense? About as much sense as not allowing Tweets in the first place.