ESPN's updated Social Media Policy went into effect approximately two weeks ago without much attention. On August 26, 2011, a few days after ESPN's new rules were implemented I stated,
During the last several years, many major news stories have been reported first on Twitter. Some of these stories include: the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, the 2009 Hudson River plane crash, and the death of Osama Bin Laden. During the NFL lockout earlier this year, sports reporters regularly posted breaking news updates on Twitter and then followed them up by more in depth articles at a later time.
Therefore, unless ESPN eliminates its "Do not break news on Twitter" guidelines, ESPN's reporters will risk other news outlets breaking news before ESPN has the ability to do so. The leaders of ESPN may want to rethink their new policy because as it stands it only hurts its ability to compete in the Social Media Age."
On September 4, 2011, John Michael Vincent of ESPN 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis tweeted, "Been told by multi sources that QB P Manning needs a 2nd neck procedure. Will remain out indefinitely.Called #colts and waiting on response."
This was a great scoop that sent the media and NFL fans into a frenzy trying to obtain official confirmation from the Indianapolis Colts about Peyton Manning's status for the season. Indianapolis was forced to issue a statement within 24 hours of Mr. Vincent's Tweet to discuss the matter. Fortunately for ESPN, Mr. Vincent works for them and ESPN as an organization may be credited for this breaking news.
What if Mr. Vincent waited until his radio show to discuss this breaking news and another reporter from a competing organization or a random social media user broke the story first because ESPN wants its talent to discuss breaking news on their platforms before using social media to disseminate information? A scoop like this does not happen every day and this is why ESPN must reevaluate its online policies to better reflect the reality of the Social Media Age.
To learn how your organization may create a Social Media Policy that does not harm your brand or bottom line you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.
Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.