Usual Facebook types are out in force as ITV takes over

Ed Chamberlin: part of ITV team that have made pleasing start

Ed Chamberlin: part of ITV team that have made pleasing start

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Robin Gibson 3:15PM 10 JAN 2017 

THERE are few things more tedious than the annual predictions. We’ve been living in the future for some time now and there are not many surprises to come.

Besides, many tech ‘predictions’ are just corporate propaganda posing as prescience. Look at the state of them.

“Apps are the new magazines!” says the head of Bloomberg Media digital – somewhat over-excitedly, and too often, considering it’s a bit of a dull idea. And he would, wouldn’t he? He’s hardly going to suggest the reverse.

“Mobile will continue to rise as the primary shopping platform,” says the owner of Street Sounds NYC (an e-commerce business with presence on eBay). Hmm. “Freight will cost less,” says the CEO of Freightos (an online freight marketplace).

See? Freight! Literally no one cares about freight, but this one-track doughbrain thinks he can shovel it into the year’s hot topics. How blatant can you get? Couldn’t he have said something about drones, or tweet-powered jewellery?

Some go on the attack – this year the target is VR. Quite a few reckon the headstrapped contraption experience will crawl or even stall. But then the most vocal critics of VR are probably the owners of a snooker hall in Bromley or something.

There was no need for prediction in racing – out with the old and in with the new happened right there and then in the here and now.

The Gandhi-esque montage for Channel 4 Racing’s swansong brought lumps to a few throats. Put it all in perspective . . . got you thinking about what happens when your time is up.

No, seriously, because all your online stuff will be there for ages. We’re all immortal, if anyone is interested enough to look. C4R had 149,000 followers on Twitter and they’re still there.

Poignancy haunts the final few tweets, with the pinned tweet a thank-you accompanied by the montage. And on the C4R Facebook page the montage lives too.

It’s an everlasting digital phoenix of a montage, flapping from the stinking ashes of 32 years’ worth of burnt-out video cassettes. This version must have been edited though – the one on the telly was well over 40 minutes long.

There are 475 comments on the final post. With any catastrophe come recognisable Facebook types, and they’re all here: the forsaken lover (“Shouldn’t av got rid of big John”); the technical expert (“Hope ITV don’t do wot they tried to do when they got MOTD off the BBC”); the eternal ingenue (“Why is this happening?”); the obsessive ranter (“At least I won’t hear Cunningham say ‘ran a belter’ anymore he’s like a demented parrot”); the pointlessly defiant (“Get bent all you armchair moaners. Thank you Channel 4”) and my favourite, the completely bemused (“it’s all going to be weird”).

But no phoenix flaps forever and the impassioned commenting just stops dead on December 28. Out with the old! It might be weird, but it’s all new.

Playing it straight

As 2017 approached the real ITV Racing Twitter (@itvracing) pulled away from the imposters (five, so far). Go on – what’s the point of setting up a fake account and not tweeting? Is it a silent tribute, or do you intend to extort ITV for your inferior handle?

ITV Racing plays it fairly straight on social. Why not? If they want wacky, they can just retweet @MCYeeehaaa. According to one predictable comment on ITVR’s Facebook, the first broadcast had a “pillock in the betting ring”.

A good ITV word that, pillock – straight off On The Buses. No idea who they mean, but Matt Chapman is so Marmite he even got people on Twitter arguing about the Marmite analogy. Do you hate it or love it? I hate it to the point of violence. But I don’t mind Marmite. It’s okay. I can take it or leave it.

The ITVR FB page has 7,235 likes already. How do these things build up? It’s not as if it’s a Drake tour or a new Jeremy Clarkson show. Some algorithmic missile strikes your social fuselage and you just click ‘Like’ to clear it? According to an academic survey that sounded plausible, Facebook was going to be dead by now. But for a lot of people it is life.

On January 1 they’d all flipped from C4. An impressive 237 comments on ITVR’s 1pm Facebook post included: the forsaken lover (“Sorry not a patch on Channel 4 . . . you have left some of the best people behind”); the technical expert (“So people are moaning because there’s no studio?? you’re not the ones standing out in it you drips.

The coverage is by far better than C4. Get a grip, your opinions will change nothing”); the eternal ingenue (“All I want to see is horseracing!!!! List of runners/riders, paddock, going down to start, at the start and race PLEASE!!!!”); the obsessive ranter (“COME ON EVERYONE CHAPMAN GONE LET’S MAKE OURSELVES HEARD”); the pointlessly defiant (“ITV are bound to cut to the adverts as the horses are about to take the last fence, they are just rubbish at covering sport”) and the completely bemused (“Is there something wrong with my TV!! Everything so small and colour not right!”).

ITV Racing doesn’t have an actual website, which is interesting. Why should it? It’s on the ITV site, with news, video and broadcast info. One plaintiff on Facebook says: “Cannot find non-betting racecards which Channel 4 provided on their website.” But should the broadcaster be trying to provide this – duplicating what’s available several times elsewhere?

Anyway, complaints aside. It’s the future and ITVR host Ed Chamberlin can answer grievances eloquently in his blog. That’s on, not We’re in the gig economy now. Let’s hope everyone keeps their jobs.

Anorak alert

A COUPLE of podcasts were missed in the round-up. The Monday Night Review (@MNRpod on Twitter) is as thorough as the C4 montage, its latest effort clocking 1:47 – and that’s not minutes.

Hosted by Sam Boswell, with articulate guests, it’s a comprehensive (you’d hope so) trawl of recent racing alongside ante-post pondering. If you’ve a free hour.

Also worth some time is the UAE Racing Podcast from the Al Maktoum Fan Club (@AlMaktoumRacing). You’d think the last thing a sheikh needs is a fan club, but maybe they like the attention.

Anyway, the pod is to the point – a tip-focused examination of Meydan from a democratic panel of enthusiastic experts. Just the thing while you wait for the jumps season. (March!)

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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