Posted August 5, 2009 8:29 am by with 6 comments

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Social Media BanYesterday we told you about the social media restrictions that the United States Marine Corps has placed on its network. Many of you, including myself, hated to see this happen but considering what could potentially take place (security concerns etc.) it has its merits. Well, one would suspect that the rest of the corporate world isn’t looking to the Marines for direction on how manage employee social media usage but many are taking similar approaches.

cnet reports that ESPN is putting the social media lid on its employees.

For ESPN, the social-networking revolution will not be televised–or tweeted, blogged, or Facebooked. Not for now, at least, and not without ESPN’s approval.

The sports network has apparently banned its workforce from posting any sports-related content on social-networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook without its permission. The news first came to light Tuesday when Ric Bucher, an NBA analysts for ESPN, tweeted that he had just received an network memo regarding tweeting:

The hammer just came down, tweeps: ESPN memo prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN. Kinda figured with was coming. Not sure what this means but

Ok, a couple of things here. I am a big sports fan. Probably too much so. While I don’t really care about the social media musings of ESPN ‘personalities’ apparently many do as indicated by the 18,000 followers that Bucher has amassed (I know, I know most of it is junk but …). Unless there are national security implications around some sports what can happen here? Can someone slander the network? If they do you have another recourse called firing them. This may actually help a company like ESPN weed out the nit wits on their staff. Will they ‘break’ a story that turns out to be wrong? I say so what but I suppose there needs to be journalistic integrity even in something as ultimately unimportant as sports.

ESPN is not alone in its approach. Some NFL teams are starting to crack down on usage of the medium as well reports the New York Times. I’m a New York Giants fan and I suppose it would have been interesting if Plaxico Burress let us know of his exploits last November with a tweet like “Plax88 – Oh S&#$ I just shot myself in the leg. Can I go to jail for that?” But then there were social media screw-ups like Washington Redskins player Chris Cooley who showed part of his playbook and his ‘bits and pieces’ on his blog last year. The NFL appears to be trying to simply limit the exposure of some of the dumbest human beings on the planet to keep the embarrassment to normal levels.

So how does your company approach social media usage by employees? We are constantly spanning the globe for the constant variety of social media policies (hat tip to the Wide World of Sports intro of a different era). When do you put the social media handcuffs on and when do you take them off? Your opinions would be appreciated. We know you have them.

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  • We just cracked down on Facebook use during work hours at my day job, but nothing has been said in terms of what we can say. Furthermore, I seem to be the only one updating our company on what is being said in social media. At least I convinced them to pay for Trackur. I’m practically a hero now (ok maybe that’s just wishful thinking).
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  • I love that the ESPN gets a memo banning Twitter, then tweets about it!

    I suspect that ESPN is concerned that they can’t directly monetize information they provide on Twitter. It’s hard to get a Bud Light overlay on each tweet! 😉

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  • I keep waiting for this to happen in the entertainment biz as more and more actors and crew Twitter spoilers. And look at Paula Abdul Twittering her resignation from Idol. I imagine some TV PR people are tearing their hair out over what’s getting revealed before they could use the info for a marketing blitz.

    As for ESPN, I imagine it’s more about proprietary information they can monetize and less about protecting the company’s image.

  • I personally think that no company should have the right to pressure its employees regarding the use of social media. I understand the fact that it’s more than wrong to publish confidential information about your company ; on the other side I believe that if I post on my blog or my facebook page a subject that is related to the industry i work in I shouldn’t be questioned by my company.