Undoubtedly, Conor McGregor has rapidly become one of the biggest global sports-stars.
For the regular sports fan like myself who follows credible sports accounts on social media, a day doesn’t go by without the Irish Mixed Martial Artist appearing on our laptop or mobile phone screens. Although it’s ironic that you’re reading this from clicking on a Conor McGregor headline, it’s not your everyday McGregor piece.
Whether he is in the headlines for throwing a bottle at Nate Diaz during a press conference, or for placing a picture on his social media during a sparring session against Paulie Malignaggi, there is no escaping Conor McGregor if you’re an Irish sports fan. Whether it’s an act of self-marketing and self-promotion or not, the Crumlin native is always in the headlines and he seems to relish in it.
The Irishman’s extraordinary technical prowess in the Octagon, his perseverance against Chad Mendes to overcome adversity and his financial development from government allowance seeker to multi-millionaire in such a short period of time warrants nothing but respect. There are many traits of his character that are motivational factors for individuals around the world, one being his desire to succeed in business and sport simultaneously.
However, one of the main reasons why Conor McGregor is such a big name in contemporary times is down to his ability to keep the media at arms-length. With a single tweet, an Instagram post or a two-minute interview, he possesses an ability to place the internet into a viral frenzy, a regular occurrence that really needs to stop.
Even the most credible of sports sites have jumped on the Conor McGregor article-writing bandwagon, and they continue to contribute to the destruction of social media as a credible sports source. Simply put, this is because his image attracts attention, and with attention and website traffic, the respective site generates more income.
Certainly, there was a time when Conor McGregor stories and articles used to be interesting, thought-provoking and funny, but due to the high volume of pieces published over the past year, the more interesting stories have been devalued. Labelled the “biggest fight in combat sports history” the boxing match between McGregor and now-former 50-0 boxer Floyd Mayweather, it’s fair to say the fight did not live up to the media hype. But it was impossible to live up to it. The real fight that was ongoing here was not the physical or mental battle between the audacious pair, but the countless click-bait articles that were being published on many top affiliated sports-sites that were battling to be the initial provider of a version of “what Conor says.”
Once he lost against Mayweather, many lived with a sense of belief that he would soon disappear from our social media screens, even if it was just for a while. However, that’s not the case. He’s still there, reappearing, reoccurring, headlining articles with his image popping up continuously.
As a revolution continues to occur across social media, the arguments over click-bait remain to be prevalent and re-occurring too. Specifically, on Facebook or Twitter, escaping this is virtually impossible as a simple like, comment or re-tweet by a friend or colleague makes the headlined article re-appear to the reader instantly.
Essentially, the problem is not click-bait though, the problem is the publication’s promise for top-of the-range content not being met. As readers, we expect something major, but we get something minor and we are being manipulated.
Although it’s profit-generating for the respective site, it devalues the credibility of digital media journalism. Firstly, it affects the journalists that attempt to dig deeper and create the bigger story and secondly, it affects the publication as an overload of articles on the same topic devalue the site throughout its base.
Lastly and most importantly, it affects the entirety of social media. We are in a generation now where many sports fans turn to websites for news instead of print media. Digital media is prospering, and the idea of digital media eventually overturning print media has gained significant plausibility.
Unfortunately, some of these pieces of work are impossible to escape, and in turn, this has re-defined and devalued our outlook on social media as a credible sports source.