Home > blogging for Britain, Social media strategy > How the world works in 2012, part XVII

How the world works in 2012, part XVII

I was at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening for the FA Cup Sixth Round tie between Spurs and Bolton. Whether or not you’re interested in football, there’s every chance you’ll be aware of the horrific incident that led to the abandonment of the match.

From the reaction of the players close to the incident it was immediately apparent that something was badly wrong with Fabrice Muamba, a diagnosis that was demonstrably vindicated as assorted medical staff began CPR within 20-30 seconds of arriving on the scene.

Immediately within the crowd there were some uniformly human reactions; many people put their hands over their mouths in shock, others shouted or sang Muamba’s name in a laudable attempt to help him pull through. Many  of us clapped when we saw the chest compressions stop, only to gasp as the subsequent shudder of his limbs made us realise that the defibrillator was being used.

The six or seven minutes that followed seemed much longer, and there was a sense among those, like me, with a degree of medical ignorance, that if CPR was still being attempted that long after the event, things couldn’t be good. As it transpired, Fabrice Muamba’s heart didn’t fully restart for two hours and as I write, there is no further news on his condition.

Upon leaving the ground, and on the train home, everyone was transfixed by their mobile screens as we scoured Twitter for news. Those who couldn’t get a 3G signal rang friends and implored them to get online to see what was happening; I heard one fan telling his brother to “follow Rio Ferdinand…he’ll know what’s going on.”

At home I deliberately avoided social media and tuned into 5Live, knowing full well that Twitter would be full of rumour and hearsay. I was desperate to hear news of Muamba’s plight – I couldn’t concentrate on anything else – and decided the radio was my best bet. But there were no updates, and 5Live, having ditched their planned six hour charity auction in the wake of the incident, were struggling to fill the airtime, to the extent that I received a call from my sister asking if I would be prepared to talk on air as I had been at the game. They even resorted to passing on Tweets from footballers – something echoed by every TV station and newspaper over the weekend.

It is clear that there has been a significant change in the way we seek out information – a change that impacts everything, from matters of life and death to marketing messages. At the same time, the lines between fact and opinion are blurring. I know where I can receive opinion and am increasingly ignoring it, such is the hostility

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