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Monday, 10 October 2016

Giggs, Savage and Content: The New Numbers Game

Media and Journalism are a far different thing today to the past, as referenced in Simon Kuper's excellent piece on the change:
Part of Kuper's piece which is well worth a read
What's this got to do with Swansea City? If you haven't already seen it, Robbie Savage's piece on why Swansea should have 'Given it to Giggsy'  is probably a masterpiece of the new world of 'content'.

Balanced and nuanced debate generally get you nowhere, it's more important that you are heard (and read) than what you actually have to say.

Savage's piece came out on Friday around 8pm, with the Mirror itself tweeting about it, then the man himself (along with a subsequent tweet on Saturday morning).  As they used a Bitly link it's possible to see the kind of level of activity it got:
These figures are for clicks for this link only so won't include activity which directly refers to the Mirror's URL (of which there'll be plenty), but these alone are fairly impressive when you think usually any response from a tweet dies out within 15 minutes (if not sooner) unless it goes viral.  If you put the article link http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/swanseas-ryan-giggs-snub-bad-9000854  into the search for twitter you'll see a couple of Mirror journalists promoting it, alongside plenty of people linking to it in tweets saying that Savage has lost the plot.

The following day, Football 365 did a fantastic bit by bit takedown of Savage's argument:
The main thing to note here is the retweet volume, over a thousand retweets where they'd normally get double digits so what we are left with is:
  • Man with reputation for saying daft things, says something daft, gets a reaction
  • Someone points out daft things have been said, everyone laughs at daft man
  • Someone points out that some people have pointed out that daft man has said daft things
I'm fully aware that I'm at the back of this human centipede of content, but ultimately people get the content they deserve.

Back on a Swans focus with regards to Giggs, he was being reported as possible target as early as Sep 21st in this Telegraph piece with Huw Jenkins apparently keen but the new owners less so, fast forward a few weeks and Rory Smith's article in the New York Times is almost falling over itself to stress how much Bradley is Huw's man:

It is Bradley’s job to quell that doubt and disprove that charge. He has started well. Of the three who conducted the interviews, it was Jenkins — Welsh through and through — who was arguably most impressed by the American, won over by the range of his experience and the clarity of his vision. Bradley still has questions to face, but Jenkins, for one, is convinced he will find the answers.


It may well be that Bradley impressed more than Giggs at interview (given Bradley's first press conference, there's no doubt the guy likes to talk), but the thing that concerns me earlier is that earlier in that Rory Smith piece a source at the club is perfectly happy to insinuate that one of the other interviewee's (presumably Giggs) basically just said that the players need to run around more.

It's easy to laugh at that, but coupled with their lack of communication with the Trust and the fact that they are currently using Talksport rather than other channels to speak to the fan base still leaves a lot of questions about their behaviour.

For more on the new owners, there's an earlier piece here, and also one on the old board and the Swans Trust.