Sports Media Has A Rough Week With Twitter

BlogHer Original Post

Just about this same time last year my husband and my non-blogging friends were making fun of me for being on twitter. This year they all have twitter accounts, or @s if you will. It isn't just them either, everyone is on twitter; politicians, news networks, actors, and athletes have all joined the social media party.

The problem is that parent organizations aren't used to being able to put their own spin on things for the public. This has been overwhelmingly apparent this week. Both the NFL and ESPN have had PR gaffes involving twitter this week.

(and yes, I know technically ESPN is the media, but we will get to that later)

First there was the San Diego Chargers’ Antonio Cromartie (who if
you haven’t heard) was fined $2,500 smackeroos for using his Twitter
account to contemplate whether the “nasty food” at training camp has
somehow helped to contribute to the team’s failure to make it to the
Super Bowl in recent years...

Apparently, the Chargers use Twitter as a promo tool, but they’re
worried about the players being a little TOO candid with certain hush
hush topics. (refer to the team actually scooping the NFL during
the draft by announcing their first round pick using Twitter before NFL
commissioner Roger Goodell even announced it in New York!)

- Jasmine, 105.3 The Fan

Really? $2500 for complaining about the food at training camp? People that work in fine dining establishments don't get that kind of punishements for criticizing the fare.

I can sort of understand a football club being worried about a player leaking team secrets, but I would hardly say that grumbling about the grub is going to hurt anything besides the chef's feelings.

The Carolina Panthers have run into a completely different set of twitter problems:

the Twitter debate has created a cyber-wall between the “old school” Panthers, and the “new school” crew.

Kicker Rhys Lloyd is a member of the Twitter
faithful and has spent time between camp practices updating fans about
his goings on. “It’s fun to do,” he said. “It’s good to stay in touch,
and the fans appreciate it.”...

On the anti-twitter bandwagon, though, is Panther QB Jake
Delhomme (who has become a major player in Lloyd’s Tweets). “Jake’s
probably my number one nemesis at the moment,” Lloyd said. “Every time
he does something, he turns to me and says ‘Why don’t you put that on Twitter?’” Other teammates agree with Lloyd saying that poor Jake is aging and losing touch with technology.

- Pantherschick, Chicks in the Huddle

Could it be a generational thing? Is this like how my mother cannot fathom why anybody would want to read my blog?

Again, I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. Twitter could certainly be a danger to team chemistry if a player decided to trash talk a team mate on the internet. It could be an issue if a player was on the sideline during a game talking about what plays the coach was calling, but as long as the athletes are following guidelines (that could easily be set by the team management if they spent a few hours consulting with a social media expert) I see it as free publicity and a way to get fans involved and excited about their favorite teams. This could be especially effective for fans that don't live near an NFL city and cannot just go to a game.

How does this explain ESPN's faux pas?

A few days ago ESPN prohibited "tweeting info unless it serves ESPN.” It only took a tweet from Ric Bucher and a few hours later the internet freaked out causing ESPN to fumble all over itself trying to explain what they meant to Mashable. Shouldn't a massive media outlet know better?

Or maybe this is the wave of the future. Like I read on Sports, Media and Society:

It is likely that other media orgs will look to the net's guidelines,
such as, "If you wouldn't say it on the air or write it in your column,
don't Tweet it," as a model. The guidelines seem to serve two
functions: to keep employees from posting on social media in ways that
could reflect poorly on ESPN, and to allow the net to funnel all such
networking to its properties, bolstering the bottom line. It's part of
the bigger movement by media companies to co-opt and monetize the
grassroots appeal of social media. 

Contributing Editor Sarah also blogs at Sarah and the Goon Squad and Draft Day Suit.

 

 

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