Yesterday, Bolton played Ayr in a pre-season friendly. I didn’t watch the game, nor did I follow it particularly closely. However, at around 8pm, I glanced at Twitter to see how things were progressing.
With a sigh of acceptance, and with my mind rewinding 12 months to the time when Chung Yong Lee had his leg broken during a pre-season game against Newport, I read that Mark Davies had been “stretchered off the pitch” with just five minutes played.
I cursed our luck, felt genuinely sorry that one of last season’s better performers had been victim to what Twitter described as ‘a rough tackle’, and thought how things might have panned out last year had we not been deprived of Chungy and, thanks to an earlier incident against Man Utd, Stuart Holden.
Now, I apologise if you’re reading this blog and you now believe our already stretched midfield has been left with a Mark Davies-sized hole. It hasn’t. The Twitter rumour was started by a malicious individual, who changed his profile picture to resemble the official Bolton Wanderers Twitter feed, and decided to make up the injury. Why, oh why, oh why, oh why would someone do that? Why?
It highlights the power of social networking. As soon as one person replied to the erroneous tweet, and another ‘re-tweeted’ it to their followers, it became fact in many people’s minds. Chairman Phil Gartside, Bolton News reporter Marc Iles, and even Owen Coyle’s son were inundated with commiserations, and requests for confirmation of the injury. The latter obliged by simply stating: “Nothing has happened to Mark Davies.”
Twitter is no stranger to this type of thing. It is a great source of news, because it pools the knowledge of so many people, and allows everyone to share what is happening. However, if you listened to Twitter, then Nelson Mandela; Lady GaGa; Britney Spears; and Mikhail Gorbachev have all died in the last year or two. Why people derive enjoyment from spreading rumours of about death and serious injury is beyond me. But they do.
And so, this blog serves as a timely reminder: check your facts – particularly if they come from a social network, or a wiki-generated source. Mark Davies is fine. Bolton’s pre-season continues with full steam. And the person who started the rumour about his injury is a numpty of the highest order.