It’s not really an open letter this, but people seem to like them as a format – so just pretend, ok?
I’d have presumed that it was an accident and given them the benefit of the doubt, but the subsequent tweet stealing, mass account following, Facebook-squatting – and a truly bizarre defence when confronted – have shown that this is fully intentional.
We started Football Likealooks in March 2014. It was born out of game that me and Fisted Away co-founder Rob liked to play while watching football- blurting out what we think people look like if they weren’t footballers, just people. During one particularly rewarding Match of the Day, we came up with a name, found all the ones we’d already tweeted through @FistedAway and began tweeting them out under the new account.
We’ve been plugging away since then, getting though a World Cup and a whole football season. The best part has been people sending stuff to us, and retweeting them. There’s been over a thousand now. It’s created a whole new football parallel universe for me. I can’t look at Ola Toivoinen without imagining his Ibiza hit. I can’t read about Jürgen Klopp without picturing him trying to sleep with his film studies students. I worry about how Thibaut Courtois will do at parents’ evening.
Last Thursday, some of our followers tweeted to ask us if we’d seen that @lookalikesfball had copied our idea. By this point, they’d done roughly 20 tweets and followed nearly 2,000 accounts. They’d also made a Facebook page with the URL /footballlikealooks (since changed). Our term.
If this wasn’t suspicious enough behaviour, it turned out that they’d done one of the worst things you can do on the internet – they had copied stacks of other people’s tweets.
(bonus points here for making one picture using a phone screengrab of the two pictures from @BeardedGenius’ tweet!)
(NB – Hey, is @StevenCarter89 the kingpin here? That’s two whole tweets!)
VICTIMS OF CRIME: if one of your tweets is in the list above, here’s how to report it as stolen.
Feeling pretty irked by all this, I decided to go on the offensive:
In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic.
Not a peep. So I got more offensive
Three days later – an ice age by Twitter standards – I finally got a response. And what a response it was!
Perhaps it was quoting Khruschev that did it. It’s bizarre being an adult and getting called a cry baby by someone who is also, presumably, an adult. Bizarre.
Once I’d wiped away my tiny tears, I responded in the only way I know how: talking about my ass. Who wouldn’t?
I don’t know what I’ve learned.
I’d like to think that whoever is behind @lookalikesfball would feel suitably shamed by everything to just give it up. To whoever is running the account – dude, you’re always welcome to tweet us ideas from your own account (…and your own brain). I genuinely really liked that Martial / Mark Ronson one!
I find it head-spinning that @lookalikesfball are classing themselves as “competition”. But competition for..what, though? We don’t make any money out of this. Does a retweet make you…feel things? Does a retweet for something you stole make you feel anything?
I’m eagerly awaiting the cool, “seen-it-all-before-mate” people coming up to tell me – “hey, it’s the internet BUDDY – stuff gets stolen all the time”.
Yes! That’s true. It does! But, as it’s the internet EVERYONE can find exactly WHO you stole it from, and WHEN.
We’re going to keep doing likealooks, because 1) we like it, 2) other people seem to like it, and 3) it makes watching even bad games of football more fun.
And I’m going to keep calling out plagiarism, because people should be recognised for their ideas and jokes. As we don’t make anything from this, there’s nothing to lose.
Also, I’m probably going to keep dicking around with @lookalikesfball. I’ve got Khruschev quotes and jokes about my ass for DAYS.