Fans, Athletes and Social Media.

First published in White Echo on March 7th, 2011.

When I was growing up, the only way I could interact with my favourite sports stars was by meeting them. And that didn’t happen very often. Loitering around a football field, I’d wait with autograph book and pen in hand for my favourite players to exit the field, or club room, after training. Or perhaps I’d get to take a happy snap at a club function, or a family day.

The only way I knew about what was going on in the lives of the athletes I admired was via the media; reading an interview in the newspaper, or hearing them on radio, or glimpsing some pictures and web copy online. Sure, I knew when they were born, every statistic about their career and every opinion about their last game – maybe I’d even find out what their favourite film was, or favourite food – but that was the extent of it. There was no possible way to find out anything more – anything more substantial or indicative of who they were or what they liked – and definitely no way of interacting or engaging with them.

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