Social media has some bite to it. The up sides are big; you can connect with people in a serious way, make them feel involved like never before. The down sides are that it can quickly escalate out of your control and what started as a good idea, can end up as your worst. No wonder England Rugby gave their players a guide on how to use social media a few weeks ago. Surprising then they should allow a player to take part in a Rugby World Cup first.
Enter the social media application ‘Periscope’. This enables a live broadcast on to Twitter. If you let your ‘followers’ know you are going to broadcast, anyone can tune in to watch. People can view it on their smart phones and interact live with the broadcast. Pretty nifty, but anyone who has worked in media will tell you, the most terrifying word I’ve typed in that description is ‘live’. ‘Live interactive broadcast” is a phrase that makes PR chiefs in charge of something like an international rugby team start convulsing. Congratulations then, England Rugby.
By the time you are reading this you probably won’t be able to see Jonny May, the England winger, take on the public’s questions via Periscope. It stays on Twitter for twenty four hours after recording and then disappears into the ether. It’s a shame, Jonny May has never sidestepped so well. So let me recount some of the highlights.
Held in his hand, his phone projected the cameras view up into his face. It was difficult to tell where he was but it seemed to be just him and his handheld. I think there was someone off camera telling him what to do and managing timing but this was intimate. That was until Joe Marler turned up.
“What you doing?” The prop forward asked entering the frame. He peered into the camera like he was your grandad seeing Skype for the first time. “Is it live?” The Harlequins man seemed incredulous that someone would open themselves up like this. So was I. Marler read one of the questions, “Who’s the fastest in the England team? Guilty…” the forward answered, sounding suspiciously like David Brent. Marler has the fastest wit, I’d pay a lot of money to get him on Periscope properly.
The questions poured in – flicking across the bottom of the screen, you saw them as Jonny did. “What’s your fastest 100m time?” “Who’s got the best haircut?” “Who do you room with?” “Who’s got best banter in the team?” “What’s Sam Burgess like?” “Who do you think will get dropped?” “Can you do a chicken impression?” “Do you really like Joe Marler?” “Do you like smoothies?” “Is a hotdog a sandwich?” “C’mon, why not do the chicken?” “Crisp flavours – talk to me?” “Are you single?” “Fishnet Stockings? “Can you say my name?” “Do you masturbate often?”
He couldn’t answer them quickly enough. He started to ignore the majority. He seemed like a boy on a bicycle that was going far too quickly. All of a sudden something nice and clever was being taken over by Internet and when that happens things tend to get funny and bad at the same time. May’s face attempted to stay straight and he chose what he read carefully, an executive’s pre-interview advice ringing in his ears. He did well, called time early, stayed polite and closed it down without major catastrophe. No doubt putting away the phone with a sense of relief.
I don’t know if they’ll do another one. You’d understand if they didn’t. Bravo England rugby, and bravo Jonny May. Nice feet!
Sam Roberts © 2015. (Text only). All Rights Reserved.