is social media becoming anti-social media?

is social media becoming anti-social media?

Being part of #rugbyunited, #bloggersbench and #rosearmy/#weartherose, I see a lot of social media activity across international and domestic rugby.

This week has made me realise the good and the bad side of the access we, as fans, get to professional players, coaches and journalists.

It's a fortnight in which there have been dozens of abusive tweets to Mike Brown. Not the player, we'll get to him later, I'm talking about the Gloucester Citizen journalist, his crime was simply to say he didn't enjoy the Allianz Park atmosphere as it felt forced and 'plastic' with the piped in music and the PA leading the chants.
His namesake has seen constant abuse since the England vs Ireland match for the Connor Murray incident, of which he was exonerated of blame by the ref, TMO and Citing Commitee. On Monday alone, we had to give 3 separate warnings for the abuse aimed at Brown on the #rugbyunited Facebook page. Until then, we'd never had to give a single warning.

It seems to be the accepted norm for abuse of this kind at the moment, something we at #rugbyunited have taken a firm stance against on the Facebook page and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, other groups have gone the other way and are going out of their way to post inflammatory articles as a way to increase page views, a sad trend that increases the views, granted but also draws out the trolls and keyboard warriors by the dozen to abuse players and fans alike.

This is a gross misuse of what social media can do. The recent successes of #weartherose and #rugbyaid, also #rugbyunited itself to a point, use the various platforms to draw fans together in fantastic ways, whether it's charity fundraising, helping spread rugby news, increase participation or encourage debate, even to find people to guest blog for your site (right, Coach Logic?)

Something we all should be working towards is to help promote positivity within our sport. There are enough anti-rugby people out there without us fighting amongst ourselves. Find other people who are like-minded, pick their brains for what helps you. Coaching tips, planning away trips, what pub serves the best pint....and if you find yourself writing out an abusive post, remind yourself that you're an adult and delete it. Don't be a keyboard warrior, be a messenger of all that makes rugby great.