Social networks have arrived in a big way. Since 2005, when MySpace really took off, more and more people are bypassing the traditional sources of information (TV, radio, newspapers) in favor of cutting-edge websites that exude “hip,” “chic,” and “in.”

How else can you explain the growth of YouTube, Facebook, and the latest social media darling, Twitter?

On the surface, Twitter’s use seems about as harmless as its bird logos. However, in the summer of 2009, the microblogging phenomenon drew the ire of August National Football League officials. (NFL). In particular, some coaches, managers and league officials fear that 140-character “tweets” could compromise confidential game plans, injury reports and sensitive marketing information. Certain NFL teams are even banning tweets during training camp, threatening players with fines and suspensions if they don’t line up.

What the Controversy is really about.

The speed of Twitter and the ability to mass instant message scare head coaches. While a team can manage press conferences and dictate press releases, Twitter gives soccer fans unfiltered access to their field heroes. It represents a transition from commando-controlled media to a crude type of citizen investigation. While professional sports journalism still has its place, modern technology (laptops, notebooks, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs)) allows ordinary people to bypass local sports broadcasts, ESPN, the NFL Network, and even the own teams to get what they want. want.

The NFL in a Web 2.0 World.

NFL franchises are understandably sensitive about their operations on the field, but media leaks and other breaches of confidentiality will happen with or without Twitter. In the age of 24/7 news cycles, a fragmented multimedia environment exposes professional athletes to a host of “independents” (bloggers, freelancers, paparazzi, etc.). For better or worse, the NFL bureau can’t stop intrepid reporters and investigative journalists looking for good stories.

The NFL and other sports leagues must maintain the highest level of integrity to survive. As the number one spectator sport in the United States, soccer is particularly susceptible to problems that can compromise its image. However, instead of attacking Web 2.0, perhaps you should take a look at the increasing presence of gambling around gambling (fantasy football leagues, weekly pools, sports betting, etc.) and the effect it has on society.

In Favor of Player Freedom.

Despite some highly publicized sensational incidents, NFL players are for the most part responsible, hard-working men who represent their teams with honor and dignity. It’s hard to believe that someone who has sacrificed so much to rise to the top of their profession would knowingly risk their career with inappropriate tweets. Instead, most players view Twitter as a way to connect with fans and promote themselves off the soccer field without the usual involvement of team agents, coaches, and publicists.

Twitter as a future partner?

The NFL is arguably the best marketed sport in the world. Between September and February, it pretty much dominates Sundays in the United States, with the hype before and after the game always carrying over to non-game days. So why the sudden Twitter paranoia? After all, weren’t team GMs gleefully tweeting their winning picks on draft day this year? Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has a Twitter account!

Like anything else in business, perhaps NFL Twitterphobia comes down to money. As financially strong as it is today, the league still doesn’t know how to monetize Twitter. Still, you should relax: the owners of Twitter (Obvious) are also looking for a viable business model that will ensure long-term viability and keep it out of the hands of a giant media conglomerate. Perhaps the two organizations can come together to create better brand awareness and shape their respective images.

Given his reputation as a marketing genius, the NFL’s reaction to Twitter is a bit strange. Sports leagues can’t control the flow of news any more than the government or the military can. Your best option may be to update your mobile technology policies, especially on game days. For your hardcore Twitter phobias, perhaps the time has come for the league to offer general Twitter guidelines that coaches, players, managers and support staff can live with.

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