The pressures on social media are often as onerous as they are in the traditional print genre. Most organs are vehicles for ‘above the line’ marketing. This is readily apparent in titles such as Metro and The Evening Standard which are free at the point of distribution. There is a premium to be paid for the quality journalism which is a feature of English broadsheets, but with one exception I cannot for the life of me fathom why one would choose The Herald or Scotsman in preference to The Times, Telegraph or Guardian. This exception is sports coverage, which so lags behind social media in terms of quality that it’s fast becoming redundant.
Sky provides 24/7 rolling sports news. Social media can take this rolling news and provide faster and superior analysis than what passes for copy at the SMSM. The SMSM is feeding from social media. The fat cat hacks are now picking up the crumbs from an intellectually rich social media table.
This year has seen the demise of Scotzine after ten years. Andy Muirhead broke the story on Whyte’s real background, while Traynor and Jackson at The Rectum were continuing to pump the PR pish down the throats of the oh so grateful gullibillies. Muirhead’s exclusive piqued Phil Macgiollabhain’s interest and to this day the Donegal-based journalist is considered by many to be the go-to guy on the Rangers narrative.
No discussion on sports social media would be complete without considering the two leading lights of Paul Brennan at Celtic Quick News and James Forrest at The Celtic Blog and On Fields of Green. All three of these excellent titles derive significant income from advertising. The Celtic Blog is owned by Snack Media. They orchestrate the advertising on this site and share the income on a 50/50 basis. All three titles don’t require the PayPal support that is the life blood of this site and my fellow FBA award winner Phil Macgiollabhain.
The Celtic demographic is well served by these titles and others such as E-Tims, Kerrydale Street and new kid on the block, Celtic News Now. The latter retweets my articles. I’m very grateful for their efforts to take my blogs to a wider audience. An audience that is fast approaching 5,000 followers on Twitter. My output, and that of my informed and eloquent contributors, on average generates north of 30,000 hits on any given day. I’m inordinately proud of my comments section. I spend countless hours moderating articles to maintain the quality and to weed out the haters, the latest of which called himself Don Ashian and showed an unhealthy interest in fellow Klan target, The Mensch. The Mensch is my right hand man. I don’t read the bile of the blue blogs as they are inordinately inferior to the aforementioned titles, but I am aware of a campaign to discredit him. Those engaging in this black propaganda have to be weeded out one by one.
I can see the attraction of exclusively writing articles, which is the case with The Clumpany. This site, which was shortlisted by the FBA for two successive years, specialises in biting satire at its best. I don’t openly follow anyone on Twitter as any choice made would be used by the haters to discredit me.
The focus of this article is The Scottish Football Monitor which has been running for five years. Very few online sites break even, but at the SFM their business model does not lend itself to fiscal prudence. Why do they spend £5,400 per annum on an office? Why do they pick up the tab for a telephone line? Do they anticipate that reporters will call them up with tit-bits that their sub-editors refuse to print? I get the distinct impression that this cost base, which is paid for by their 1314 subscribers, is ego-driven.
If every one of their subscribers paid as little as £5 per month, their income of £78,840 would be close to what Keith Jackson picks up at The Rectum ( Real Arseholes Read The Rectum.) Somewhat surprisingly their income is nothing like this. They are currently engaged in yet another campaign to raise £1,200 to pay for their embryonic podcast ambitions, and to pay for other costs including their hosted internet service. This sum is the equivalent of a line item marked moderation. Are they charging their subscribers for the time they spend moderating comments?
The SFM site earns less than £1,000 per annum from advertising which speaks volumes of its low traffic. One of the sites I mentioned in my prologue to this piece earns circa £36,000 from advertising, despite generating fewer hits than CQN.
The SFM site was the victim of a cyber attack. How secure do their subscribers feel? Are they concerned that their identities and bank details could be in the hands of the klan? Annual income at the SFM has dropped to just over £10,000 which is circa £1,000 shy of their outlay. With 4 articles per annum are they good value for £11,000?
The SFM is a single issue site. Scottish Football is refracted through the prism of this issue. This is seen as a strength by many, but to my mind it prohibits following lines of inquiry into other areas of interest. The SFM is stuck on the same LNS/Harper McLeod/Ogilvie/RTC groove. Only a handful of their 1314 members pass comment. These are mostly retired individuals with too much time on their hands.
This site is run by Big Pink, a retired schoolteacher, who treats his readers like errant schoolboys. He perceives his remit to be ‘The Keeper of The Truth.’ Is there a Holy Grail containing Christ’s Blood at the office of the SFM which gives them the authority to be so dismissive of my site?
Some of their most gnarled bitter old trolls such as Homunculus, hang on my every word so that he can criticise it, while Easyjambo runs a forensic eye on my calculations. Get a life guys. If you have so much time on your hands, why not start your own blog. Let me know when you achieve 9m hits.
Their aged demographic and one issue focus will be their undoing. Another factor in their decline is the dominance of Celtic supporters in their ranks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Big Pink, Trisidium and regular contributor John Clark are all Celtic supporters. Brennan and Forrest do Celtic better.
Bella Caledonia, an online publication with a pro-independence editor and constituency, has run its course. It hopes to find a saviour so that it can cover the second coming of a referendum. At the SFM one could be mistaken that they are awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ at their £5,400 office. Should he call to set up an appointment with The Holy Trinity at the SFM?