The ban hammer is coming down hard on social networking service like Twitter and Facebook. Following the NFL and U.S. Marines, sports network ESPN is banning its talent from using tools like Twitter to discuss sports. According to The NY Times:
"The guidelines say that on-air talent, reporters and writers are prohibited from having sports-related blogs or Web sites and that they will need a supervisor’s approval to discuss sports on any social networking sites. They will also be restricted from discussing internal policies or detailing how stories are 'reported, written, edited or produced.'"
While I understand that ESPN wants to protect its processes and talent, I think this is a tactical error. Social networking services can be used effectively to communicate with viewers, readers, fans, etc. ESPN's policy limits the interaction its reporters and writers can engage in, and that's a real shame. Here at G4, on-air talent like X-Play's Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, as well as Attack of the Show's Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, use Twitter to keep in touch with their viewers and promote their respective shows. TheFeed's Brian Leahy also uses Twitter to keep in touch with his three fans.
I see it as an unobtrusive way to keep in touch with an audience, promote articles, and keep people coming back to TheFeed through interactivity. I think it's brilliant that Twitter lets me learn more about TheFeed's readers and they can learn a little more about me. ESPN is making a mistake by limiting the way its talent uses social networking...or perhaps the network is just tired of me bombarding Bill Simmons with tweets.
What do you think of ESPN's stance on social networking? Is the network doing the right thing? Or do you agree with me that it's limiting audience interaction? And also, follow me (please)!!!