Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses aren't the only ones struggling with whether and how to embrace social media. The Washington Post reports the National Football League has recently released a revised Twitter policy.
Previously, the league forbade players and officials to use cell phones, computers, PDAs and other media devices to access sites like Twitter or Facebook on the sidelines, in the locker rooms, and in the coach's booth from the time that pregame warmups start until post-game media interviews have ended.
According to the new policy, players, coaches, officials and others associated with league teams are not to access social media beginning 90 minutes before game time until after media interviews after the game have ended.
In a written statement, the NFL said:
The growth of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has created important new ways for the NFL and clubs to communicate and connect with fans. The NFL has been at the forefront of the use of new media and will continue to emphasize innovative and appropriate use of these new forms of communication.
Innovation with social media can help a team involve its fans just like it can help a company further involve its customers, but appropriate use is also key to social media's effectiveness.
If a player or a coach is too busy posting to Twitter and Facebook to pay attention to what's happening in a game, then productivity is lost. Perhaps more importantly, if a player or coach is using social media during that "protected" time, there's more of a chance that team information or game strategy will be made public -- to the team's detriment.
Just as in a corporate environment, social media is good for a team's business only to the extent that it furthers team goals. The minute it becomes counterproductive, it makes sense to limit the availabilty of social media.