Sports journalist scores own goal with Twitter let down
Too much hype can be a bad thing if you fail to deliver.
You will no doubt already be familiar with the fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
In it, the title protagonist is a third century BC Greek shepherd boy with a 21st century attention span.
Sadly, born in a time long before iPods, Playstations and Kindles the only way he was able to amuse himself on cold nights was to shout that an imaginary wolf was attacking his flock and so summon all the villagers from their warm beds to chase it off.
So amused was the shepherd boy by this early attempt at trolling that he repeated it, each time winding up the locals more with his false alarms.
Inevitably, as we all know a hungry wolf did turn up shortly afterwards and the villagers ignored the boys pleas for help, refusing to fall for what they assumed was another trick.
The tale has been told many times to warn children of the dangers of telling fibs and seeking undue attention.
At around 15:30 yesterday afternoon, respected Sports Editor of the Guardian Newsdesk Ian Prior tweeted that there would be a
Perhaps an announcement on the Olympic Stadium? Was Ferguson going to retire and Mourinho replace him? Could another Arab billionaire buying out a major club? Would Barcelona finally get round to offering a record breaking fee for Lloyd Doyley?
As the deadline drew closer, F5 buttons were being smashed around the world and the Guardian homepage finally refreshed with the scoop.
It turns out that Inter Milan might make a bid for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale. For £40m. In the summer. No sources at either club quoted.
There didn’t need to be. Within minutes both clubs had denied the story.
Theories began circulating that Prior may have sacrificed himself in order to then compose an article on the power of social media or that the whole exercise was a critique of the hyperbole that surrounds football, particularly during the transfer windows, but it seems unlikely that a Sports Editor would embarass himself for such reasons.
To his credit, Prior has taken the stick with good grace admitting that he was
retweeting a campaign to get people to stop following him
before accepting defeat
and announcing the end to a long day with
Indeed his positive attitude and willingness to take it on the chin has helped deflate much of the ire and avoided prolonging the situation. Prior isn’t the first person to mess up on Twitter, he can add his name to an ever-growing list that contains the likes of Habitat, Stephanie Rice and Courtney Love.
But let them down and they’ll leave you to the wolves just like a bunch of tired Greek villagers.
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