A study into the effects of social media on the popularisation of snooker over the past decade

SOCIAL media has certainly helped to popularise snooker over the past ten years. Facebook and Twitter have been embraced with loving arms by our governing bodies.

Thousands of fans view the short clips of outrageous shots, funny incidents and controversial moments uploaded by World Snooker Tour on social media. And, as we know, the Twittersphere goes into meltdown every time Ronnie O’Sullivan makes one of his perverse pronouncements.

Mobile phones – once viewed as the death knell of our wonderful game – have, in fact, driven the growth in interest among our youngsters. We have entered a new glorious age of technology – so they tell me.

In a bid to demonstrate their gratitude to social media, Europe’s national associations met in secret last month and thrashed out a revolutionary new selection criteria for next year’s European Under-18 Championship. Their report, not due to be published until tomorrow, has been leaked to cuestars.co.uk.

Over the past four weeks, every snooker club in England that is affiliated to the national association has been contacted. Junior membership lists have been collected on the pretext of a raffle for World Championship final tickets. They are now safely stored on a national database. At noon today, an algorithm developed by Croatian IT expert Prvoaprilska Šala will crawl through the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of every name on the list.

It will search for posts and tweets created from the beginning of this year that contain any of the following words or phrases: “snooker”, “champion”, “tournament”, “competition”, “jammy git”, “break”, “cue”, “club”, “century”, “crap tables”, “light white”, “referee”, “win”, “lost”, “unlucky”, “fluke”, “it wasn’t my day”, “buckets” and “prize money”.

Points will then be awarded as per the list below:

One point for each post or tweet ‘like’.
Five points for each post share or re-tweet.
Ten points for each post share or re-tweet by a famous snooker name.

The four players with the most points will be invited to compete in next year’s European Under-18 Championship.

One Premier Tour player, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “At least it’s not as silly as the criteria used for this year’s event in Portugal.”

Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)