One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Special Agent #ITK

I love Twitter, I find you can follow the people you want and you can soon learn if they have a similar interest and if you trust their writing, even just 140 characters of it. Most of the people I follow are based around The Arsenal; couple of players, mainly Mikel and Bac, purely for the pics of their respective wives, but mostly ordinary fans like me.

This close season though has become quite fascinating for one particular phenomenon. The tweeter who is #ITK. For those unfamiliar, ITK is In The Know, although I loved one guy who tweeted he was always #ITK at parties!

Now, we have all seen the growth of the internet and how if your first site visit is the Arsenal NewsNow page you will be bombarded with links to various sites all proclaiming that AFC have reached an agreement with Barcelona to sign Messi etc. Now, I don’t click on their bullshit anymore, having learnt some time ago that they were just “Click Whores” who only wanted hits on their site because it generated revenue for them. But I can see the reasoning in their method; they are making money and to be honest, they are not harming anyone, so if there are still lots of gullible fans out there clicking away, prepared to read their nonsense then so be it.
But this is what intrigues me about Twitter and the #ITK situation. What’s in it for someone who isn’t genuinely providing accurate information? So let’s have a look at the possibilities. Firstly, you have the genuine fan, someone who may have an ‘in’ at the club, so they may get snippets of info from their source that can be released into the general fan base. Their source may be acting without the club’s consent, so they will have to judge how much they can leak, without getting caught in a compromising situation that will risk their future. Alternatively, the club may realise what they can gain from spinning some stories out to the masses at certain times so it could be that the info is leaked with their consent and to their timeline (‘scuse the Twitter pun!) Question here is whether the tweeter knows which of the above is their supply line situation.

In both of the above, it always brings me to one big question. If you are genuinely told some info, that you know will be huge news to AFC fans, but by releasing it you could endanger a deal the club is working on;  the selling club may ask for more money or AFC could get gazumped and lose out altogether, then why would you release it? I don’t think you would if you really are a fan, but it would be really hard for me to not tell a few select mates if I knew Fab4 was at Colney on the treadmill.
Now the problem is that this also provides an out for any #ITK to use. It starts to remind me of mediums and psychics, who start to ask vague questions that will bring someone out of the audience for them to work with. You can hint at prospective signings by keeping an eye on reliable media outlets and journos known to be AFC friendly and those accounts on Twitter who you are generally considered to be reliable and not fantasists and then just adapting your words. When someone eventually signs you can reveal that this was what you were hinting at all along, but obviously you did not want to risk harming the deal by being too specific. #Clever.

Then there are those who are maybe just on a bit of a trip to Ego Central. Most of the top Arsenal #ITK accounts have thousands of followers and I would imagine a lot of that following is based on their reputation for providing reasonably solid (well as much as it can be on Twitter) info on player movements and commercial deals etc.  So if they are just bullshitters, why? What is there to be gained? There’s no pay per read of your tweets, so is it something to do with having large numbers of followers, some kind of kudos in that. As the old Twitter saying goes, “Hitler had millions, Jesus had 12!”

Then I guess there will be those who are just out to cause a bit of bother, stir things up and cause some friction. Strangely enough, I think these are the easiest ones to understand as we’ve all seen how ‘trolling’ works and have probably poked the tiger through the bars of the cage ourselves from time to time. Let’s be honest, with how things have developed amongst Arsenal fans over the past 3 or 4 years and the divides we have seen created, it is a fertile ground for those who could prey on our desire for top signings or proof that Arsene really is a parsimonious old fool who is ruining our club.
Rooney - fat little f*cker or new Arsenal star?

It must be said that a lot of these accounts come in for some dogs abuse due to their ‘inside knowledge’, so it’s not without its perils. It really does seem that a certain section of our fans are some of the most impatient people I have ever come across. There was a tranche of fans who gave it until at least noon on July 1st before they claimed that Arsene, Ivan and Stan are not interested in spending any of the ‘warchest’ and we have been lied to yet again, which was obviously proof that the #ITK’s are all liars or worse still, tools of the state! Surely it is easy for us to just make our own mind up, after all we are supposed to be responsible adults. You don’t like what you read, you simply unfollow, it’s really as easy as that.
Higuain - will he sign for Arsenal or your fantasy team?
I would just like to finish by saying that I am as hungry for positive news on our club as anyone else. I yearn for us to sign Higuain, Rooney, Fellaini, Cesar and Williams and that desire leads me to being somewhat more gullible than I should be; it’s the hope that kills you! I follow probably a dozen Gooner accounts that mainly fall into the categories above, i.e. they provide snippets of information to the masses, with varying degrees of openness about their reliability. I don’t hang on their every word, but I do find it interesting to see what they hint at and I am keeping a very close eye on what transpires this Summer in comparison to what each of them is suggesting is in the pipeline. Come the close of the window I think I will be making my mind up about who is #ITK and who is #FOS.
Mark King


  1. Good read, spot on. People need to stop believing every Arsenal fans who has spun his way up to thousands of cult members.

    Lost me at yearning to sign Ashley Williams, but aside from that.

  2. Twitter = for Twits. Titter more like it - LOL @ #thetits

    We'll all know who we're signing in time for the kickoff of the new season, the rest is best left for those with too much time on their hands.

  3. Quite so Mark - but I'm still going to believe at least two of the above until they sign for someone else.