Dear Comissioner Selig and Major League Baseball:
Your social media policy is dumb. Instead of understanding the true power of social media—a place where you could actually GAIN more fans and interest—you hide behind a prehistoric, traditional social media policy takes the fun out of the game.
Before we chastise you for the recent suspension of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for tweeting after being ejected from a baseball game in New York, let’s take a moment and understand the logic on your policy. According to the Associated Press, your policy is as follows:
Baseball has a social media policy covering employees that applies to managers and coaches and prevents them from disparaging umpires.
There also are guidelines that basically prohibit players, managers and coaches from communicating by electronic equipment from 30 minutes before a game until it ends.
True, you are following the same policy as the NFL, the NBA, and the EPL. But guess what? YOU ARE ALL DOING IT WRONG. You are missing a major opportunity to generate more interest, more loyalty, more engagement with the very same fans who are already complaining about juiced-up players, astronomical ticket prices, and declining attendance.
Ok, again, before we get to Ozzie, we have a few questions and comments for you:
- As much as you don’t want managers to disparage umpires, deep down inside you love it. You loved Earl Weaver. you loved Billy Martin. You loved Lou Piniella. And yes, as much as he drives you crazy, you love Ozzie Guillen. You see, sport is all about passion and competition. It’s about trash talking and getting people into the game. So, if a manager or anyone tweets out: “That umpire sucked,” that is disparaging? We say that is FUN, that is INTERESTING, that will make us WANT TO SEE THAT SAME MANAGER IN ANOTHER GAME.
- Just to clarify, say Guillen said something like, “Wow, that game was interesting. Still wondering what happened,” 31 minutes AFTER the game (not the 30 as you state), would he not be suspended? Why 30? Why not 34? How about 44? How about 30 minutes and 2 seconds? Would he still be in trouble?
- Why try to control social media? What is the purpose? Are you afraid of “diluting” your brand? Here’s the rub: OPEN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY and YOU WILL CREATE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF LOYAL AND MORE PASSIONATE FANS. Consider the possibilities: have players use FourSquare to check into stadiums and innings from live games, have players and managers post in-game photos to Flickr accounts, add a YouTube channel with REAL content from the benches and the fields, hold contests, ask fans to second guess managers, HAVE FUN.
- You guys are too corporate and too serious. Stop listening to your lawyers and start engaging your fan base. Because we guarantee you that is you do, PEOPLE WILL COME. If you don’t, PEOPLE WILL LEAVE. We think that is called supply and demand.