ESPN's New Social Media Policy: Good or Bad?

twitter_logoYesterday afternoon ESPN released a memo to it’s employees detailing guidelines in their social media policy. I’m not sure they were really guidelines, but appear to say you cannot participate in any social media conversations that involve sports (without prior approval from your department head). You can judge the policy yourself by reading the memo as sent to Mashable.

I do agree that employers should have some form of a policy on social media.  In my opinion, this should state common sense items, such as not bad mouthing your employer or coworkers, not giving away company secrets, or not destroying the company’s brand image.  You do represent your company in more ways than you realize.  To me those are common sense guidelines to most people, but since some people may not think like everybody else they need to be included in a policy.  Personal social media accounts can greatly benefit your employer as well.  You can announce new projects, new brands, etc… from your personal account that benefit your employer.  It’s also a great networking avenue, which helps to keep you informed of all the latest happenings in your industry.

With that said, I do believe ESPN is missing the point with some of their policy guidelines.  The sports information industry is ultra competitive, with every outlet trying to break the next big story.  What faster way is there to announce breaking news than Twitter?  You can grab your smartphone and post a Tweet in under minute.  With this policy ESPN will need to wait for a story to be posted to break the same news item?  While they wait other outlets have already broken the same item using Twitter.  Why not allow this?  I do agree with most parts of the policy, but it’s surprising to see them take away an outlet that provides the fastest output of news available.

On a personal note on this story, it does bum me out a bit.  I have enjoyed following some of the ESPN employees Twitter accounts.  They provide some great insight on their respective sports in 140 characters.

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