Joey Barton provides a prime example of how social media can be a double edged sword.
Days after his inconvenient truths about his club earned him the respect of thousands of fans from not just Newcastle but many others frustrated by the way clubs do business, he's gone and destroyed his whistle blower image to become another cheap aunt agony who unloads every thought shallow or otherwise on a ready audience. The Gervinho episode has transformed this man into a gibbering galoot who mistakes cause and effect and makes him sound less like a social reformer and more like a closet narcissist.
"If he doesn't dive then the incident doesn't happen. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten involved, but diving and trying to win a penalty is s***. Needs stamping out. I train all summer to have him cheat us out of a hard-earned point? It's not on. Diving should be a three-game ban. Respect the game."
Where is the man who twittered a George Orwell quote as an intelligent riposte to the undesirable status quo?
What's the difference between Barton going down like a pole axed steer and Gervinho's simulation? They're both using subterfuge in trying to hoodwink the officials into achieving a desired end. Barton can also claim no moral ground. Anyone who tries to maim his teammate stands on shaky grounds when they say respect the game.
" I train all summer to have him cheat us out of a hard-earned point?" Really? This so whiny and self absorbed. If Barton stops training its because the game has been over run by cheaters. Now, the four goal comeback that shocked Arsenal was a hard earned point. Did I say something about Barton not respecting the game?
Barton was entertaining and informative when he had something real to say about the game. Now, when he really should be keeping quiet about a manipulated and artificial situation of his own making, he's trying to stay relevant inventing stuff out of whole cloth.
Which brings us to an example of the real doubled edged nature of social media.
Facebook and Twitter were used to drive the Arab Spring. Overwhelmingly used as a social platform to organize thousands to protest their undemocratic governments and paving the way to change in Tunisia and Egypt. Unfortunately, for the first time they have been exposed in an undesirable way in their propagation of the traumatic looting and violence that swept England resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of pounds.
Maybe Barton can reflect on that having shown promising signs of being the first footballer philosopher since Albert Camus.