As featured on News Now

The Rise and Rise of the IDK
by Ed Bottomley

Twitter’s a funny old place, and a particularly funny old place to follow the funny old game.

With Twitter you have a direct line to professional football journalists, most of whom are flooded with avalanches of “has he signed yet?” tweets all summer long. It’s also useful if you want to kvetch at people like the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning for his drooling half awake views on Richarlison, or give NBC Sports’ Arlo White a very gentle social media headbutt for his weird commentary at Molineux.

With Twitter, not only can you watch press conferences live from your phone, but you can also have journalists pull out the relevant quotes and serve them up to you.  It’s great for breaking news too – Journalists can fire off a tweet when a manager has been fired, they can squish transfer rumours at a stroke, and share their news on Everton’s latest signings. Notice I said “journalists”… It’s important to remember that. They are top of the Twitter food chain. 99% of the time, all transfer news, all quotes, everything starts with them.

Clearly they’re not perfect – they don’t spend their entire lives wallowing in Everton like we do, and that’s the beauty of social media. You can follow hordes of Everton fans – read their blogs, listen to their podcasts, watch their videos. Take podcasts… Whereas the big shiny professional podcasts like the Guardian’s Football Weekly, The Game, and the Totally Football Show are fantastic, they only talk about Everton for about five minutes (as they should, they have to get through every team) – Everton specific podcasts give you all Everton all the time. And outside of the Echo’s podcasts – most of the blue content I consume is from fans. Fans with encyclopedic knowledge and mouth frothing passion. 

Somewhere in between these two groups comes the ITK’s (In The Know).

The semi-professional bullsh1t artistes, missing open goals and trying to pass them off as worldies… I said Paul Pogba was going to LA Galaxy? No, you misheard! *Deletes incriminating tweets*”… 

Back in the day it was Teletext and Ceefax, and big fat tabloid headlines. They promised us the world, and we ravenously lapped it up. Then came the ITK’s – the In The Know crew who invariably were anything but. Smug keyboard warriors professing to have background knowledge, intimate background knowledge of the workings of your football club. They were the Clubcall and Teamtalk of the social media era. There’s only one problem with them, they lie, they pull stuff out of thin air…

This is where the IDK’s (I Don’t Know) come in.

These people don’t know, but like ITK’s they want us to think that they do. Unlike the ITK’s they take their info from reliable sources. They don’t pilfer stories from the gutter, they jump the velvet rope and take them from the top table. 

The pattern is a simple one… Journos break news. IDK’s share that very same news too, almost as if they’re in that press conference or that newspaper’s office. Except they aren’t.
Richarlison called up to the Brazil squad? Journos break news. IDK’s share news too.

If only there were some kind of widget that would allow these IDK accounts to re-share journalists breaking news on Twitter…

 

What’s that? They should “retweet”, you say? No, they’re not interested in retweeting. They’re interested in pretending that they are a source for breaking news on the club.

They’re not.

But by regurgitating real journalists, sometimes literally copying and pasting (occasionally even with the same typos) – they’re framing their tweets as if their “breaking news” is the result of their keen eye for a story, or some crack news hound transfer sniffing.

It isn’t. 

Instead of posting their reactions as fans to news of sackings and signings, these IDK’s are engaging in a foot race (or more realistically a thumb race) to copy and paste news from journalists and throw it up on their Twitter accounts.

It’s a shame. A shame for our Twitter feeds, now reduced to a clogged mess of regurgitated news from multiple sources. And it’s a shame for the fans, who instead of sharing their opinions about their passions have taken to pretending that they’re Henry Winter 2.0. 

The great Vince Lombardi once said of the other Football, “Football is a game of inches and inches make the champion”… 

Our football, on social media at least, is becoming more and more about stealing column inches from those that wrote them.

Passing off breaking news as your own is idiotic. IDK’s don’t have to go toe to toe with journalists, all we want to hear is their obvious passion and love for our club. 

Written by Ed Bottomley

Everton fan exiled in Michigan. Duncan Ferguson obsessive, history buff, optimist. Follow me on Twitter @DixiesSixty

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