What do you do if you’re the manager of Yeovil Town trying to think of who to bring to the club, can’t afford a scouting network, but do have 1,700 Twitter followers? Duh.
And while Yeovil boss, new social media poster boy, and part-time “What if Ron Weasley Was Old” Lookalike Contest Winner Terry Skiverton may have initially claimed that asking his followers to help scout and recommend some affordable transfers for their beloved club was all just a bit of fun, the fun stopped and/or continued when he actually ended up signing one of the Twitter-recommended players:
“A few people are calling it the first ‘twansfer’,” he told BBC Somerset.
“I’ll be retweeting the ones that came up with the name Kieran Agard. There’s a couple of people who had mentioned him, so they’ll be taking the credit.”
Agard joined the Glovers on Wednesday on a one-year deal following his release from Everton.
And Skiverton says giving the supporters an opportunity to get involved in scouting for new talent has been a positive process.
“The help from the supporters has been magnificent,” he said.
“What I didn’t realise was other supporters from other clubs had jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve had supporters from Liverpool, Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Championship clubs like Cardiff, all telling me about their best youngsters and players are available on loan.
No specifics on how many of those United fans were just trying to get Darren Gibson out of their club, but this whole thing has been pretty damn cool. Global fan scouting has already been used for video games like Football Manager with generally good results.
And when when done correctly in any context, crowd-sourcing general knowledge can be immense and digital and social media only amplifies that a kajillion times. It would be stupid for a club to sign a player just because @turdbandit24 told them to, but to think that thousands of people coming up with names wouldn’t be better than Terry Skiverton sitting alone in his office with a pen and Post-It pad is silly. Wikipedia is another good example, for it’s flaws its still pretty much change the entire way we can discover base knowledge. What we do with it and how we process it, factoring in margin of error, is up to us. I, for example, used it to look up who the hell Kieran Agard is.
Now if Agard turns out to be crap, at least fans will know exactly who should face their ire. Bonus.