Mtch 2nite @ 7, u ok?
Mtch 2nite @ 7, U ok?
(by Diarmuid Ó Gallchobhair)
Mobile Phones, SMS, Email, the Web - we have them all!
Having only come to the GAA club scene relatively recently, I find it hard to imagine what club communications must have been like before the advent of email, SMS Messaging and the Internet. “Communications” probably didn’t even exist in the way we mean it now. Stories of late night phone calls to neighbours’ houses, to call next door - or perhaps further afield - to try to muster a team for the following morning seem extraordinary now, but is a relatively recent memory for some. And I wonder what used happen when a match – or training for that matter – was called off?
Modern technology has changed and infiltrated our lives dramatically, in all sorts of ways. While the arguments regarding the use of technology to assist referees continue, most clubs already use various modern communications technologies all the time. Just think what it would be like to try to organise a club section without access to mobile phones. Last minute calls giving directions to obscure venues, frantic calls from parents lost somewhere between the Finglas and Lucan exits on the M50 - while heading for a match starting in fifteen minutes near Cabinteely; checking who’s available for that game in the morning. It happens every day. And then there’s the text - or should I say “txt”; “Training 2moro, 11am”, “Snr Mtch Wed 7pm, Tym Nth.”, “Confirm available 4 Tue”, “hav u paid ur mbrshp yet, pay up r else”. I do believe I’ve even seen texts passing between a team’s manager and selectors at a recent match! Now I wonder what that was about??
While the literary purists might bemoan the loss of grammatical standards, it’s a great way to inform club members – or any other subscribers – of progress, match fixtures, results and social events. How did we survive without it! The industry tells us that mobile phone ownership has reached 100%; saturation point! That means there’s no excuse for any of us! Can we really tell the coach we had no way of knowing?
Having a club website can be a fantastic facility. It gives a club a “global” presence. I regularly receive emails from people all over the world who have accessed our site, looking for information, copies of rules and so on. A website can at least be used to publish match results. But this is only the start. The better sites also include recent match reports, photo galleries, future fixtures, team and player profiles, training presentations and maybe even a club history. The very best sites might have a restricted users’ area, where documents (minutes, plans etc.) might be published. So the poor club secretary need not worry any more about whether all the committee members received the last meeting minutes and the next agenda! No more “Well I know I posted it to you.” Some sites offer subscription services, so that when new content is added, you receive an email to inform you of the new content. Served up to you on a virtual silver platter!
But beware. A website needs to be kept current. If your “Latest Match Report” refers to a match that took place over three years ago, forget it! If your site isn’t updated regularly then it should be dumped – it gives the wrong impression and causes annoyance. As any marketing guru will tell you, if a client, customer, visitor finds the service unsatisfactory; he or she won’t be back, probably even when the problem is sorted. If a site is properly maintained it will not only offer good information for members and non-members alike, it might attract all sorts of interested parties to your little corner or the world. And it will provide a valuable archive into the future. “So what was the result of that Under 13 league match so-and-so played in back in August 2003?” Check the website! Astound friend and foe alike!
And what of email? The experts tell us that email is now viewed as more important as a communications tool – at least for business purposes - than the telephone. Some estimate that over 171 billion (yes, I did say billion) emails circulate globally every single day. I wonder how many of these relate to the GAA? If my Inbox is any gauge, quite a few I imagine! Email is not without its problems, as any email administrator will be only too keen to explain. Nearly three quarters of all emails these days are SPAM. And how do those nasty computer viruses make their way around to everyone’s PC? You guessed it. But it sure is a handy way to get those results circulated.
How did we survive without it!