Jessica Hayes and Katie Salmon exemplify how to create a Twitter storm
PICTURE: Daily Mirror
By Robin Gibson 11:45AM 1 SEP 2016
YOU CAN’T beat early-morning friction on Twitter to spice up the breakfast bowl. The Racing Post itself is not insusceptible to criticism but still, it was surprising on Tuesday to see the online ordure poured on the mildly humourous ‘You won’t be seeing this pair again on a racecourse’ front page (about the exhibitionist reality ‘stars’ banned from the sport of kings).
I’m more PC than a 50-year-old copper who can’t pass the exams, and even I found it amusing. It was risqué, but in tune with the times, as Mrs Brown’s Boys had just won some kind of poll for the top sitcoms of the 21st century – touch of the Bob Nudds there – and the BBC were remaking Are You Being Served?.
Anyway Pairgate, in a compact way, had all the hallmarks of a Twitterstorm and is worth analysing: a perfect trajectory, starting off (mainly) enjoyably, before descending (briefly) into nastiness and then (quickly) fizzling out.
Stage one: initial kicking Someone with more than 23 followers must light the fuse, or you will have a short firework display. Step in Oliver Sherwood (@OliverSherwood, 11k): “What a pathetic headline – supposed to be a ‘racing’ paper not a tabloid #getyouracttohether”. Excellent stuff to set the tone.
Two: retweets and echoes In five hours the tweet had 59 retweets, 100 likes and over 20 replies. “Thought a copy of the Sun newspaper had landed on my doormat this morning not the Racing Post!”; “So much going on in world of racing and @racingpost have to produce that front cover about those 2 randoms”; “Post continuing on its trajectory towards the gutter. Quelle surprise” (bit harsh, that one). There were expressions of pleasure, but it’s impossible to tell if those were sarcastic. Probably not though. Conveying sarcasm on Twitter is like lampooning the Prophet in print – a bit tricky, and likely to cause offence.
Three: impromptu hashtags Sherwood’s #getyouracttohether was good, but it didn’t catch on – partly because he ran it into another word. And put an ‘h’ instead of a ‘g’. Other bids included #MustDoBetter, #KeepItRelevant, #pathetic and #Muppets (see point 6 below).
Four: broadening Twitter toxicity spreads out like an oilslick, occasionally hobbling innocent sealife. There was a classic example this week when a thread about ketchup-flavoured crisps, after 316 replies, got on to about the inevitability of the second world war. It doesn’t matter if that was contrived, it’s typical. So fresh resentments peeled off from the outrage at the Post’s front page, such as: “Yet the price keeps going up, needs some competition”; “Now has about 4 pages of racing content instead of 5. How anyone wastes their money on that is beyond me”.
Five: the odd good point Here, from Dominic Fox (@DominicRFox): “They don’t care about the ban! They care about headlines & front pages! So well done, you’ve given them exactly what they wanted.”
Six: sheer nastiness The inevitable tailspin, as someone pushes too hard, with an attack askew from the original point and out of proportion. And the winner is: “These two Muppets think that have it all . . . wait till they get to their mid-late 30s and see how bad life turns out. #Muppets”.
Oof! Time to pack up. And can anyone explain why ‘muppet’ is an insult? They’re wholesome, smart and funny. Someone is pulling their strings, but who can say they’re truly autonomous?
PJA website as thrilling as title race
Talking of wholesome, the jockeys’ title race is warming up. This is wholly wholesome, based on sheer tyre-wearing, starvation-rationed hard graft and not leisurely pot-hunting.
With the exhaustion, it’s not surprising the championships are a bit all over the place, what with the new Flat, the all-weather, and the secret championship across all surfaces from January 1 to December 31 that a small group of us are running in readiness for the revolution.
Seemed a good time to look at the PJA website (thepja.co.uk), which turns out to be a cracker. Whoever was compiling the crazed website for the Rio Olympics might have had a look.
All right, the PJA doesn’t have to deal with taekwondo or trampoline, but its site is a masterpiece of cleanliness and organisation. It’s got a great guide to all the championships, immaculate, up to date and easy to follow. That might sound simple but easier feats have failed plenty.
It’s also got very good gallery from the Lesters, atop which sits, fittingly by serendipity or design, a lovely shot of Tom O’Ryan presenting David Nolan with his Flat Ride of the Season award.
>> In an occasional service entitled #getyouracttohether!, I’ll highlight common grievances about generally good products. For starters, no one could fail to notice that although Bet365’s app is really good, punters are unhappy about the preset staking – based on your last bet – that has been introduced with the latest update. It’s causing them to stake more than they want – or sometimes less. #getyouracttohether!
Equibase Racing Yearbook app
For Phone or tablet. Online at equibase.com/yearbook
First impressions Can it be this good?
What they say “Watch every graded stakes race … relive America’s best racing back to 2010.”
What punters say Not a review or even a rating.
What’s good All right, the 2016 launch was in February but it’s now, in the run-up to the Breeders’ Cup, that it breathes fire. It’s simple, it’s fast, it has all the Graded results with video and you can search by race, horse, jockey, trainer or track. Restored to its old name after a term under the ‘branding’ canopy of America’s Best Racing. It’s brilliant. Why can’t we have this here? Answers in 3,000-word format at least.
What’s bad The odd video is missing.
Marks 4.8/5. An exemplar.