Social media can set the agenda and help make people a little safer
Nobody likes people who blow their own trumpets and this blogger rarely does. (In fact, it rarely has a trumpet worth blowing.)
While the newspapers love to claim victories that are often nothing to do with them, it is only the most delusional, self-aggrandising of bloggers (and there are a few) who would dare to do so other than in very rare exceptional cases.
And, no, your humble blogger is not claiming a victory but taking what seems a reasonable opportunity to flag up that social media can lead to positive change and that this blog can claim to have participated in that process this week.
Two days after calling for action against the Union Bears who had announced a march before their team’s match “against the Fenians”, this issue is a major mainstream media news story.
It has been reported in several popular news outlets that a criminal investigation has been opened and the Union Bears are complaining today that they have been "intimidated" by the media and that some members have been visited by police.
The blog is also quoted – with a link – in the Evening Times, something that you are unlikely to find in some of the most popular Celtic blogs which are now running the story (though some such as Indy Celts can be supportive of other Celtic blogs).
This is exactly the response that was hoped for when the original piece was written.
Point-scoring is part-and-parcel of football rivalry – but this was something different.
It was an arrow shot in the air in the hope that, if enough people read it, there might be at least a “quiet word” from Police Scotland in the ear of someone who might otherwise incite or perpetrate violence against some innocent person.
The best that can be hoped for is that, such is the focus on the issue and the protagonists, that there will be no other news story about someone getting hurt for no good reason.
That’s the only victory worth having – not lamenting an attack on a player or fan after the fact.
The Union Bears have, predictably, reacted with defiance, following some truly idiotic interactions on Twitter that resulted in the author of the original flyer being outed by one of his own friends.
And this story still has legs.
But the power of social media to raise awareness and put issues into the public forum, which the mainstream media may then follow, is clear to see.
The police know that any problems will lead to media and political pressure and will be watching the activities of the Union Bears very closely.
The public – especially Celtic fans and players – should be a little safer on Sunday.
The two pieces previously published on the issue in this blog have been amongst the most popular ever on this blog – the initial article is comfortably the most-read and the second is in the top five.
But, before you think this really is just a trumpet-blowing exercise, here’s the kicker.
The effectiveness of social media relies entirely on the users and their willingness to share or promote articles that they think are of some value.
Whatever part the articles on this blog played in doing some good was entirely thanks to the countless people on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms who helped to spread the word.
So, thank you and pat yourselves on the back. Some people are, hopefully, a little safer because of your work, though they will never know it (and it’s worth making a special mention of Celtic NewsNow and the Glasgow Celtic Stream).
This is the Celtic family – trying to do some good.
As usual, with success.