Social Media, Soccer And This Guy Holding On To A Pole
This story is so strange and serendipitous. I just have to tell it.
It’s the European championship in soccer at the moment. That’s a pretty huge deal for quite a few nations. Sweden only got one star player who’s doing his best to carry the rest of a pretty mediocre bunch, but that doesn’t stop the tournament from being a huge deal in Sweden anyway; when Sweden played their opening game against Ukraine, quite a few Swedes were sitting in front of their television sets.
The game was pretty embarrassing, and Sweden lost. I saw the game myself and there was this one thing I just couldn’t quite let go; one of the Swedish defensive players had made the cardinal sin of letting go of the goal post and of course Ukraine scored. For those of you have never played or been interested in soccer, well, that’s just something that you don’t do.
But what couldn’t escape me was the fat that no-one seemed to have reacted to this. The expert commentators talked and analyzed every situation thoroughly, but for some reason they barely mentioned the fact that one of the players had let go of the goal post.
But apparently I wasn’t the only one. A guy I know, Fredrik Strömberg, who happens to also be a digital Creative Director a prestigious publishing house here in Sweden, had a picture of himself taken, simply showing just how easy it is to stay close to a pole. Like this:
If you’re into soccer, if you’re Swedish, if you saw the game and if you reacted on the fact that no-one seemed to react, then you probably thought that this was funny as hell. Fredrik got around twelve comments and some thirty Facebook likes on his photo, so nothing remarkable at first. And personally, I never saw this particular picture. But I did share another friends’ holding-on-to-a-pole-picture and when I did, he made me aware that this was actually Fredrik’s little prank.
So, the phenomenon actually deserved a Tumblr blog with people holding on to stuff. Of course, right?
In twelve hours, several major local and national Nordic newspapers and radio stations covered the story—and even the Guardian. Thousands of tweets exploded on Twitter under the hashtag #hållenstolpe (“hold-on-to-a-pole”). And the fact that the poor soccer player’s surname is Lustig (“Funny”) didn’t quite stop the wild fire from spreading either.
Maybe you think this is a funny story, maybe you don’t. And maybe you think that this is what social media is all about; pointless corniness amongst crying babies and rainbow cats. Or maybe you can see the state of the media in all of this, where the traditional press is quick to fill their editorials with reports on things like these.
Personally, I this is funny and it did struck a chord with me—and many more with me. I draw no conclusions besides that than this:
The social web is not primarily a news aggregator. It’s a universe of what engages us o a personal level, large and small. Sometimes it’s expressions of solidarity with people fighting oppressing regimes and sometimes it’s nothing more than a guy holding on to a pole. If not for the crying babies and the rainbow cats, you got to love the internetz for that.