Social media provides an incredible platform for everyone that chooses to use it to connect with others, express their opinions on whatever they’d like, and for people who’d like to chat to like-minded people about the things they love.
When it comes to sport - and for the purposes of this piece, football specifically - it allows supporters like me, who may live hundreds of miles from the club they support, to feel like they are in the thick of it, and part of the everyday conversation.
Naturally enough, with being a Sunderland fan, I follow an endless amount of people who follow the same team as me which, in turn, ensures my timeline offers me a multitude of opinions, updates, team news and general Sunderland AFC information. It ensures that for times like Saturday when I cannot see the match, I am kept updated throughout.
Sunderland’s result on Saturday was the definition of a clutch situation.
Nothing is more exhilarating than scoring a last-minute winner in front of your own supporters - and Nathan Broadhead certainly saved the team that day, and possibly even saved our promotion chances with his last-gasp header.
As I couldn’t make it over from Ireland to the game, I followed it on my phone, and spent most of the match refreshing Twitter looking for minute-to-minute updates - one of the big advantages of social media is the instancy it provides.
As the game progressed closer and closer to the end, the hot takes began to flow, and they came in their droves - and not all of them were pleasant, or necessarily fair.
Cue the Broadhead winner. My timeline changed from a feeling that ‘the world is ending’ to ‘can anyone else hear the beautiful sound of the birds singing in the blue skies?’.
Some of the same people were now again busy finger-tapping. Neil was a genius. We will get promoted, no doubt. One of the most important results in our recent history.
In my opinion, our performance over the 95 or so minutes was good enough.
It probably deserved the 1-0 win. Just.
It’s amazing how much one goal can change the whole mood... the entire feeling... the kind of opinions that the internet stirs up.
I have to wonder, though, whether this is right.
Does changing our opinion as quick as we do give off a good look? The ability we have through social media ensures that people can have twenty different opinions in twenty minutes. Everything, seemingly, has to be out there with very little thought.
Truthfully, I think we’d be better off focusing on more ‘cold takes’ - more measured, more thought-out, and fairer. Not everything has to be so rapid-fire.
The internet has turned some folk from rational to irrational, showcasing the most extreme end of every opinion imaginable. It is a frenetic place where anyone and everyone is an open target.
The culture of being a football fan online is often tiresome. It demands instantaneous certainty or opinion on an array of topics or talking points. Everyone thinks that they know best - even if sometimes that means they say things that they might not necessarily believe.
It isn’t the way it should be, and I just wish people would think twice before pressing send.
There’s a famous saying that springs to mind: The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Sunderland will lose again some time soon, and when we do I just hope that people will consider taking their time to collect their thoughts,