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The Sun and PR Week have both covered a story today about footballers being banned from social networks by their clubs (specifically Manchesters United and City). Footballers and social networks, particularly Twitter, aren’t often the best mix: see Ryan Babel and Darren Bent for further details.

Despite the freedom of speech argument, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to social media a certain amount of common sense is required, and without wanting to resort to stereotypes, footballers aren’t considered one of the more sensible facets of society, so perhaps a blanket ban is best. Fans are still going to go and watch the match/purchase merchandise etc., and at the end of the day that has to be the consideration of the business – does a presence on SM by individuals have a positive effect on the bottom line? In this instance I don’t think it does.

Having said that, Bent has learnt from his mistake in the summer, and he now provides an intriguing insight in the day-to-day workings of a professional footballer’s life. As long he steers clear of engineering transfer moves on Twitter again, he could become a case study of how public figures should operate online.

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If the success of our girls’ football team came down to commitment to the cause and sheer determination I’m pretty sure we would have had a good chance of winning our league earlier on this year. Unfortunately it seems to come down to skill and size.  Apart from our goalie Fran, none of us have had much experience on the football field and being dainty PR girls there’s not a lot of weight behind us either. Perhaps we should’ve taken some tips from Elizabeth Lambert, a female footballer from the University of New Mexico, and we wouldn’t have finished last… then again, looking at our opposition, those moves might get us into more trouble than it’s worth.

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Professional footballer and prolific twitterer Darren Bent (of Sunderland, ex-Spurs subs bench fame) has really taken the micro-blogging network to heart – he’s had his profile name, @DBTheTruth, stitched into his boots. The interactive kickers are courtesy of his supplier Umbro.

This isn’t the first time the occasional England striker has embraced Twitter. In the summer, in an attempt to reinvigorate his stalled transfer from Harry Redknapp’s White Army to the Black Cats, he let his feelings been known with what some might call a strongly-worded outburst aimed at the North London club’s chairman, Daniel Levy.

Obviously Bent isn’t the first sportsperson to use Twitter, but he does seem to be the one embracing it the most. We’ve had live event blogging and tweeting – what money on Bent to tweet whilst playing in a match?

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For my sins, I’m a Forest fan. Having been born in the mid eighties and not really being aware of the team until about a decade later, that means I have rarely experienced true joy when it comes to the true Reds winning anything. The glory days of Clough were long gone by the time I fell in love with Frank Clark’s team of Colin Cooper, Steve Stone and Chettle, Ian Woan and, of course, Stuart ‘Pyscho’ Pearce. The years since have been a bit of a drought. When I heard Arsenal fans whinge about four years without a trophy I pity them. Come talk to me when it’s twelve years since you’ve played a Premiership match.

So it is an unfamiliar emotion that I find myself feeling this Monday morning in October. Four wins in the last four games (including seemingly runaway promotion favourites Newcastle), goal difference keeping us from a play-off position – not a bad way to start the week.

However, best not to get carried away. Promotion is won in May, not October, one game at a time etc. Got to keep feet on the ground, otherwise there’ll be tears when it all goes tits up at Christmas. Still, I can revel in this for a bit: ahead of Leicester, and the sheep all the way down in 17th. How could that not be a great start to the week?

Reds

Hands up who thought this blog was going to be about Cloud Computing?

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Mascots tend to be quite annoying but this one also appears to be pretty stupid.

Can’t insert the clip directly into this post, but check out the clip on the BBC here.

Also, just because we can, here is Usain Bolt smashing the 200m world record. Commentary isn’t in English but you get the idea. He is fast.

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As it’s summer (really, it is) then it’s an unwritten company rule to hold a few rounders matches. Having warmed up with an intra-agency championship a few weeks ago we were ready to challenge an unsuspecting supplier to a match. Bring on Gorkana.

Unfortunately we were slightly let down by someone, who shall not be named, who forgot until the last minute it was his wedding anniversary and probably shouldn’t be playing rounders. Tut tut. But that didn’t hold us back and we went out with full force.  No game of rounders is complete without some disagreement over the rules and once we’d establish what hitting the ball backwards meant, we were well under way.

Some of the highlights:

  • Jimmy E took one for the team by stopping the ball with his thumb (which is now twice the size)
  • @PatrickYiu made some impressive hits but they always seemed to find the nearest fielder
  • On the very last go, when @SamKano had about three hours in which to get round and score an impressive rounder, he completely stacked it, taking with him half of Hyde Park. No rounder
  • The surprising affect that a small amount of alcohol has on rounders performance
  • @PatrickYiu shouting that we should get bonus points when @SamKano hit the ball straight into the shin of the fourth base fielder

So, because we’ve told Gorkana that we have other options for media information services… we won!! Now let nothing be said about those 9 extra rounders that appeared on Gorkana’s score sheet.

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As the biggest bike race in the world enters its second week, Brit Mark Cavenish is racking up the stage wins and the rivalry between Lance Armstrong and his “team-mate” Alberto Contador has reached fever pitch but other than the battles on the road something interesting is also happening with how the tour is being reported on – especially on twitter.  Cycling is a relatively niche sport and doesn’t generate huge amount of coverage in the back pages of the UK nationals – so how is Twitter helping the cycling enthusiast?

I”ve talked before about how Lance Armstrong successfully uses a variety of social media tools to boost the profile of his LiveSTRONG charity but this year for the first time, loads of the riders involved in the race are posting regular twitter updates, before and after each stage – giving followers a real insight into how each rider is feeling. The tweets are also being used more and more by traditional media as direct quotes in articles – sometimes forming the basis for an entire article, an example from yesterday here.

So not only can cycling enthusiasts get more frequent and timely updates direct from their favourite stars but the real time coverage on twitter is better than the normally reliable BBC Sport. Thanks to ITV’s Tour De France twitter feed – followers can get updates on the race quicker than ever before. Updating in 140 characters speeds up the process a bit!

Twitter being useful – might sound amazing to some but to a cycling geek during the Tour it really is.

And just because I can – here is Mark Cavendish wining stage two of this year’s tour via this YouTube clip.

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