Football with the boys 2.0

On: October 16, 2007
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About Rikus Wegman
Rikus is a student New Media on the university of Amsterdam. He has a bachelor degree in Social Science and a broad interest in the social and cultural implications of New Media. Rikus is interested in the development of New Media in Africa. He has a minor in cultural studies with a broad interest in youth culture.

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As a new media student I always find it interesting to look at different social and cultural fields and environments in witch new media applications are being used. This weeks assignment in our Masters of Media class was to describe a personal situation in which cooperation between different actors was a key element. This social dynamic could occur both online or offline. I chose to write about my football team. A group of guys that play together every week, hoping to score a good result. The football team makes an interesting case because in the last year a lot of communication tools around the team changed and the influence of new media applications is appearing quickly. This makes my football team a good example of a social event that formerly only took place in an offline environment but is more and more starting to use tools from an online environment to function.
future soccer
The first example of a situation in which a new media application is handling a solution for a problem occurring in our football team is apparent when looking at the planning of our team weekend. Every year, me and the rest of the boys come together for a weekend of extensive physical training in a bungalow park somewhere in the ‘hoge veluwe’. Because of our busy schedules it is always hard to pick a date for this (within the team) immense popular event. Because everybody wants to come and we don’t want to let down anybody it is near to impossible to pick a date for the weekend.
Because the organisers of the weekend have to take in account a lot of different peoples agendas its impossible to not disappoint at least one or two of the players. The last couple of years the team mates that organised the weekend did a lot off talking, calling, mailing and hustling around to set a date for the weekend. Because most of the players feel a huge social commitment to the team and the all-for-one spirit within the team is really high nobody wants to miss this event.

This year Wibi (one of the players from our team that resembles famous Dutch piano player Wibi Suryadi) suggested to use the online date planner datumprikker.nl. With this tool it would be easy to pick a date for the weekend. Every team member has to fill out a list with available dates and pick the date(s) that would suit him best. In doing so the tool in its turn forms a list of dates that are most suitable for the team. This is the easiest and quickest way to pick a date for the event that is convenient for the largest possible group of players. Within 5 minutes a list is created that works democratically and seems fair to all the players. This lists saved us a lot of heated discussions in the dressing room.

The second problem that occurred within the team and which is solved with the help of a internet tool is the registration of absent players. Every weekend there are some people within the team that have responsibilities elsewhere. Reasons for absence can vary from celebrating your stepmothers 46th birthday to having planned a day at ‘ponnypark slagharen’ with the family and everything in between. Because our team for a long time didn’t have a natural leader players would just call other players randomly to make notice of their absence. This lead to a large ineffective web of miscommunication and misunderstanding around the question witch players will be available on Saturday. Although there are a lot of friends and supporters that don’t mind filling in an empty spot in the team every now and then the last season it did occur once that there where only 10 players on the pitch.

The ingenious Wibi solved this problem by registering the team to the internet site teamers.nl. This site is an easy to use web application that links different members of a group. It is designed especially for sport teams and serves as a planning schedule. Before each new game we get a notice that the game is added to the system and we’re supposed to fill out if we will be playing, not playing or just visiting. In this way every team member is well informed about the amount of players that are going to be there.

Next to these two applications the team also has its own hyve on hyves.nl. Where the team members can leave their ‘krabbels’ concerning the game or just joke around a little bit. Within the last two years our team transformed from a strictly offline engagement to a multiple accessible offline environment. The web tools used serve as a easy to use environment to solve the problems occurring both on and off the pitch.
Because of these new tools you are insured to never walk alone…
football with the boys 2.0

2 Responses to “Football with the boys 2.0”
  • October 17, 2007 at 12:59 am

    Hey Rikus,

    (in dutch) Ik heb je stuk even ‘gespellingchecked’, vandaar dat mijn naam als 2e auteur staat vermeld.

    (in english) Nice report on your experience with collaboration and the difference of this collaboration within the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ world.
    I am quite curious about the post in relation to some theoretical background, though. How do your experiences meet theoretical frameworks , like e.g. those of Spehr? And are you positive or negative about these developments, when considering the ‘bandwidth’ and ‘value’ of communication within social networks like these? And are these networks more democratic in a sense, or just more bureaucratic?

  • February 20, 2008 at 4:30 am

    a good read

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