1875: Hashtags and Postcards

If you’ve spent any time on Birmingham City Twitter recently, you will know that protest season has well and truly started. The #BSHLOUT hashtag has been trending on Twitter in the UK for a couple of days as supporters vent their frustration at the owners of Blues.

Birmingham City FC

I have to admit on a personal level that I’m pleased to see that there is some cohesion out there among fans. It’s been obvious to me for a while that things at the club are not quite right and I’ve long thought that if the owners are no longer interested in buying the club, then it makes sense for them to sell it to someone who is.

The hashtag has clearly got to Blues director Edward Zheng Gannan, who appears to have been on something of a Twitter blocking spree in the last few days.

While my @almajir account has not been blocked, it is now no longer being followed by Edward and he’s performed the “soft block” so I’m now no longer following him.

As someone who gets defensive themselves, I do understand why Zheng has decided to block people; after all, it’s hard to take when people are telling you to go forth and multiply all day an every day. Not only that, blocking people on Twitter is probably more professional than to offer them all out on the Kop Car Park. I’m pretty sure a few fans would indeed “want come”.

That being said, as one of the few public faces of the board and by extension the ownership, Zheng is doing himself no favours in hiding.

Zheng is no doubt on a fair whack of wages (although maybe with no access to the club credit car any more), and there is an argument that Zheng has a moral responsibility to at least offer some sort of statement to fans on things such as the state of the St Andrew’s.

However, as impressive as the hashtag trending has been, I do think it’s time to move onto something a little more substantive. It’s very easy for anyone to mute a hashtag on Twitter, and I have no doubt that if people who are being spammed with the hashtag start getting annoyed they will do that.

I’ve already had one Hong Kong news website turn me down flat with regards to an article about Blues because they got spammed by the hashtag; I have no doubt others will follow suit.

As a part of the 1875 group, I’ve been working on a couple of ideas that people can take part in, which hopefully can help to push things forward.

I’m a big believer in a multi-pronged attack when it comes to protest, and any ideas 1875 offer will always be in addition to stuff other people have come up with.

While the hashtag will have made people on Twitter take note; and the chants at the Preston game were picked up by Quest in the highlights, I’m personally concerned that the owners themselves will not be see either and thus have no idea how angry people are.

Taking inspiration from the 2011/12 season when fans sent postcards to Alex McLeish from our European tour, we have created a postcard which can be downloaded along with addresses they can be sent to which will get them to the people in charge.

We do not deny that this will be nothing more than an annoyance to them; however the three of us who run the 1875 group agree that annoying the owners might be one of the things we can do to help them come to the realisation that they need to sell.

We are working on other tactics too which we will share as soon as possible.