Have you ever read Twitter whilst watching your footie team on the telly? I tend not to, preferring instead to concentrate on the match itself, but just occasionally I've taken a peek. What I have seen whenever I have dipped a toe has shocked me. Twitter seems full of so called "supporters" whose whole opinion on the team and manager can swing from one extreme to the other during the course of a mere 90 minutes. The last time I looked was when Arsenal were 4-0 down inside the first half when away to Reading in the Capital One Cup. Twitter was full of self-professed lovers of the "Gooner family" absolutely slating the players and manager. No pride, a disgrace to the shirt, no clue, should all be sold, etc, etc. These were the points being made in a particularly abusive way. Funnily enough, after a 7-5 Arsenal win following a great comeback and extra time, the very same people that were hurling this abuse were "proud of our boys" who demonstrated "great heart" and "played for the badge". The manager went from needing to be sacked overnight to an astute tactician who deserves reverence and acclaim. I was astounded by such hypocrisy and taken aback by the sheer fickleness and the inability of these doughnuts to see the bigger picture or to acknowledge any existence of a middle ground which provides adequate room for properly thought-out criticism or praise. It is this that makes me think that these people suffer a form of bipolar disorder. Perhaps not manic depressives, but displaying similar symptoms albeit within a different context.
Of course with Twitter, it is easy to distance yourself from these characters. All you have to do is hit the 'Unfollow' button and then pretend that the rational world allows no place for such extremists. I think we all know though that this really is burying our heads in the sand and that in reality, the modern world is heavily populated by those that draw immediate conclusions without ever engaging their brain and who adopt a nastily aggressive approach to letting those that cause their ire know how they feel. Was it Darren Gibson who, when still at Man United, opened a Twitter account only to close it the very same day having received all manner of abuse, mainly from United "fans" who, shall we say, doubted his ability to make the grade at the highest level? The last time I noticed, he's making a decent career for himself at Everton.
It is apparent that these abusers do not limit themselves to social media. There was a sentence in the review of 2012 that On The Nose sent out to subscribers yesterday that caught my attention:
"At the end of December 2011 I had a rather poor Christmas period with the service and a few of our members let me know about it. Fair enough I don't mind constructive and often supportive criticism but there is a line."
This needs context. This was December 2011, the end of a year over the period of which OTN had attained an ROI in excess of 25%. The month itself was hardly disastrous. My records show I lost just over 2.5pts; the official figures were -3.5pts. So we have a couple of poor weeks within a month that was far from being a bad one, coming at the end of what had been a spectacular year. And people are sending abuse to the tipster!?! Abuse strong enough for it to have made a strong enough impression on the tipster to warrant a mention in a review sent out over twelve months later? What do some people get off on?
What really puzzles me is what such people hope to achieve. I don't think you need to be a genius to realise that a confident tipster is more likely to make money than one coming under pressure from followers who see fit to throw abuse when results don't go their way. Surely folk can see that being aggressive can only be counterproductive. It's like booing the footballer on your team whenever he gets the ball because he's having a bad game. He's never going to be encouraged to play better by being booed, is he?
In my experience, most reputable tipsters encourage and even invite constructive criticism of their service. I think (although don't know for a fact) they do so because they feel they can learn something and I'm sure within many a tipster's subscriber base there lie some experienced and knowledgeable gamblers whose opinion is worth listening to. But there's a massive difference between constructive criticism and aggressively thrown abuse - no-one invites abuse (with the possible exception of Joey Barton). I can't help but think that if you're sick of the performance levels of a tipster you're following, then press the equivalent of the 'Unfollow' button and simply don't renew subs when the time comes. Simple.
This post might perhaps appear as a piece of propaganda for those that run tipping services. It isn't. It reflects my own thoughts. I do intend though, to provide some balance by writing a post from the punter's perspective, and asking what can we do to make sure we get what we want from a service to which we pay our hard earned cash. Keep an eye out. It's on it's way.
Just a quick final note to say that SBC members will soon be able to read an interview with my old mate The Value Bettor, who incidentally weighed in with another nice winner yesterday (Virginia Ash - Plumpton - 11/2). It promises to be an interesting read and if I was able to choose any of the questions posed, it would be how on earth does he remember the race a horse ran in over a year ago and use that as a basis for a selection. Go and read his blog update if you want to know what I'm on about.