It was Bob Dylan that famously sang ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’, and unless you have been living under a rock, you will have noticed some dramatic changes in recent times.
Thanks to technology, and in particular, the internet, some barriers that previously existed have been broken down somewhat.
The increasing number of social platforms, like Twitter, Facebook etc, means that fans of the game now have direct access to players’ thoughts and/or views on the game.
They can also interact with them, and if lucky, enough get direct responses in real time.
The changing rooms for example used to be ‘off limits’ to the public and what went on there was nobody else’s business.
After the game, it was time for the players to sit back, put the feet up, and with beer in hand, reflect on the game. Obviously, this still happens in the lower grades, but at a national level, it’s now not uncommon to see players sitting side by side after the game uploading pictures, posting and updating their status on their sponsored iphone, Blackberry, and so on.
Some will argue that it is intrusive. Why do we need to know what they are doing every second of the day?
One gets the feeling that there is a real demand for it, however, and some people can’t get enough. Fans that will never get the opportunity to represent their country, for example, want to know what it’s like.
They want to get up close and personal.
Not only is it direct and in real time, but it’s also from the most reliable source, i.e, the player himself.
In days gone by, you had to wait until the next day and read about it in the papers.
Obviously, many still do, and perhaps there is still room for both, but there is no denying that social media is changing the landscape for fans and supporters alike.