I’ve been wanting to write something for the site for a while now and not being the best with words I’ve chosen a topic that I for one am well versed in. That would be social media.

Which to be honest with you ties in nicely with Sunday’s show as the club said goodbye to Gary Haines a member of the media team, the second exit from the department within a couple of months the first being Matt Wright. Along with Tom Harvey they took the clubs first baby steps into social media and from then it’s continued it’s growth. During the interview Gary credited Matt Wright with the introduction of twitter.

Something that I had not previously paid much attention to was other football clubs twitter feeds, Peter Finch made a comment which sparked me to have a look at Wigan’s twitter feed before kick-off. There is no fan interaction whatsoever, none! This shocked me, truly did. Social media is surely about interaction….right? Their feed is full of squad updates, fixture details and links to their website articles and that’s it. Compared to @cafcofficial it’s dull.

Fan interaction is what the official twitter feed seems to be about and the media team team (IL, JS and OG) will respond to most queries, if they don’t have the answer you’ll get pointed in the right direction. I’ve noticed and I’m sure you have too that since the introduction of the new boys the social media element of the club has continued to grow and develop, showing they are not afraid to try new things.

Recently the club promoted football for a fiver using the #FootbalForAForiver hashtag which saw it trending worldwide, which just shows what fan interaction can do for you. You can read more information about it here: http://www.cafc.co.uk/news/article/20121011-fivertrending-422058.aspx The twitter feed now has over 52,000 tweets (though I’m not far behind) and has nearly 26,000 followers, which brings fans wherever they are closer to the club.

Not a twitter fan? Then don’t worry the club have a Facebook page which is updated with the latest club news, Instagram pictures and the latest Youtube videos. With a recent marketing push has seen the page with as nearly as many likes as they have twitter followers, a marked increase on a few months ago.

Based on the last few months I’m sure the team will continue to come up with new and wonderful ideas and continue to develop what is already one of the best online presence that a football club has. Many could learn a lot from ours.

As with the good things about social media comes the bad……

I’ve personally been on twitter since February 2009, no I wasn’t one of the early adopters but I got onboard before every Tom Dick and Harry joined. Twitter has continued to grow it’s user base and now has over 200 million regular users, it has the person you see walking down the street to your billionaires sharing their thoughts.

Limited to 140 characters users tweet anything they want, within reason of course. Their tweets could cover what they have eaten for breakfast to what they think about the latest government policy and of course the latest football results.

So as twitter has grown so has it’s interest, catching the eye of many football players.

From a fans point of view it’s great, I could potentially end up having a conversation with a footballer, someone who I might admire and I’m pretty sure there are offers who think the same. For instance if Darren Bent had scored against Palace I’m sure he would have received thousands of tweets congratulating him, unfortunately this did not happen.

As well as giving a player a virtual pat on the back there are those who choose to critique players, now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that as fans we reserve the right to have an opinion. What I do have an issue with is those who decide being vile is acceptable, an example being hoping a player wishes to die or telling them they are s**t  I have personally seen some of these nasty tweets.

I’m pretty certain if these same people saw the same player walking down the street one day would they run up to their face and spout such vulgar things direct to them? Most likely not unless said people had been to their favourite pub or bar and have the old dutch courage behind them.

It just amazes some of the things I read on Twitter and Facebook, whether it be about our players or others.

Now I know what I write on here is not going to change any of that, I’ve tried to understand what goes through their heads to put things on the internet that will repulse others. Maybe it’s attention seeking? Who knows! I for one will continue to block those who I find offensive and I’m pretty sure players and the club probably do the same.

I’m just worried that what happened with the likes of Paul Benson and Bradley Wright-Phillips will happen again and the small majority will ruin it for other fans, who know how to interact and stay within acceptable social boundaries.

I think the conclusion here is that whatever steps the club and players take there will always be those who want to be heard and those who shock tend to get the most out of it, though that won’t last long. Social Media is here to stay and if you decide to jump onboard be it using Twitter or Facebook prepared to read the kind of things you wished did not exist, and should have remained behind closed doors.

On the other hand don’t let the majority put you off, I’ve met some great Charlton fans via Twitter those who I now regard as friends. It’s not all bad.

By all means feel free to tweet myself @glovepup your thoughts on this article or anything else Charlton related

Up the Addicks!

By Paul Glover

Charlton Athletic WebsiteCAFC Community TrustBream Team