When it comes to the expansion of 1. FC Köln internationally, the internet and social media are easily two of the club’s greatest allies. I say this because I know that it was through social media that I went from early morning half-asleep viewing of Bundesliga matches while feeding my infant son to this effzeh-obsessed person you see today.
Though I was first aware of Bundesliga being broadcast in the US through the magical art of “channel surfing,” it was with Twitter that I was able to find a steady resource for news and discussion about the club, which eventually drove me to again work on my sportswriting and now to have launched this website.
Shortly after deciding/realizing the 1. FC Köln was the club for me, I realized the power of the Twitter hashtag that hosts a never-ending stream of discussion about the club, #effzeh. I don’t recall whether I attempted using my German skills to enter the discussion initially, or if I just burst onto the scene all gung-ho-American style with a “Alright, I’m here. The party can start! Where’s the cheese dip!” What I do know is that I was instantly and warmly welcomed into the community, accepted despite my neophyte status as “one of us.”
Obviously, I’ve since taken it upon myself to act as club ambassador to the English-speaking world in an effort to help bring more fans to a club that has been, until very recently, written about almost exclusively in German. When I first started trying to blog about the effzeh, there was no English-language website or Twitter, so I felt like I was working somewhat in vain, but for a worthy cause.
Most of my readership on American Geissbock was German. Even now, Germany brings a lot of hits to Planet Effzeh.
But the appetite for English-language coverage of the club is growing, albeit at a rate slower than I would like.
To that end, I think it is time for there to be a Twitter hashtag for folks who don’t read German but are interested in using the medium for effzeh discussion. Thanks to my own German skills, the original hashtag worked fine for me, but in order for this club to really reach those wider audiences, it’s not going to be reasonable to hope that someone who doesn’t understand German to sift through #effzeh to get to the news that is useful for them.
Hence, I propose to the world the use of #effzeh_en !
For those unfamiliar, “effzeh” is a phoenetic representation of the way Köln locals pronounce “FC” in their dialect. Its use as a marketing tool was the brainchild of Maurice Sonneveld (someone you should probably just follow), who runs club media for 1. FC Köln and can be credited for many of the successes it has had in being a leader among German football clubs into the social-media realms.
I haven’t bothered to confirm it, but I feel fairly confident that Maurice was also instrumental in getting the club’s English-language Twitter account launched, the handle for which is @fckoen_en. As the official account uses and underscore and then “en” to designate its separation from the main account, it seems logical that we’d do the same to differentiate our English hashtag from the primary tag.
I must also credit one of the many great effzeh fans I have virtually befriended over recent years through the magic of the internet for suggesting we use the underscore, rather than my original proposition, which was to use “#effzehen.” 2#effzeh4u (also someone you should probably just follow) pointed out that with the official English account using the underscore, our doing the same would be a natural following of “common practice,” while also avoiding confusion with anything about Kölsch toes.
@planeteffzeh effzeen has "zeen" in it which sounds quite awkward to a German ("toes" slightly misspelled – Zehen)
— 2#effzeh4u (@2smart4u) October 11, 2015
Even should this hashtag take-off and have a healthy life of its own, users should not feel discouraged from also adding the original #effzeh to their posts, if space is available. One of the true stereotypes of the German people is that many of them have excellent English-language skills. Without that being the case, I doubt I’d have gotten very far with the hashtag on Twitter. If you scan it, you’ll often see English conversations in it with at least one German participant engaging without the use of their native language.
Again, in talking with @2#effzeh4u, I was reminded that moving the English-speaking fans entirely to a separate corner removes one of the best things about being #effzeh and a huge part of what drew me into knowing it was Mein Verein.
@planeteffzeh Absoluetely! Shows that "överall jiddet Fans…", and personally, I like those English soeaking guys a lot ?
— 2#effzeh4u (@2smart4u) October 9, 2015
Hence, the English tag is great for making sure there is a good place for those without German-language skills to grown their online effzeh community, while using the original #effzeh tag also enables those German-speaking folk who wish to help engage the English speakers in their following the club to do so.
It’s a win-win for almost everyone. I think it’s safe to assume there are those who wish there was only German in their Twitter-search timeline for club talk, but a lot of those people fall into the same category as those who cancelled their club membership over the refugee support the club offered and are increasingly a tiny minority within the bigger, open 1. FC Köln collective.
So, come join us on Twitter (but don’t stop using the Planet Effzeh forum for talk!) for immediate discussion of all things effzeh. You’ll find that the English-capable fans are a great and diverse bunch who will make you feel even more effzeh than ever.
COME ON (Twitter) #EFFZEH!