As the start of the baseball season draws nearer, one of the things everyone can look forward to is enjoying tweets from players and managers. Anyone who follows Ozzie Guillen or Logan Morrison knows that these tweets can range from ridiculous to hilarious to ridiculously hilarious. Last fall, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, MLB stated its intention to institute a policy governing social media. Naturally, given what some see as draconian limits put on video highlights, there was a fear that the league’s social media policy would rob us of the opportunity to interact with, or simply enjoy spontaneous insight from players and managers. After the policy was released on Wednesday, you have no reason for fear.
Via Hardball Talk, we get the opening statement from the new policy:
While having a Social Media policy is important to protecting the interests of everyone involved in promoting the game, we hope that you will not view this policy as a blanket deterrent to engaging in social media. MLB recognizes the importance of social media as an important way for players to communicate directly with fans. We encourage you to connect with fans through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Along with MLB’s extensive social media activities, we hope that your efforts on social media will help bring fans closer to the game and have them engaged with baseball, your club and you in a meaningful way.
We also get a Ten Commandments of sorts, listing the thou shalt nots for anyone engaging in social media.
- Players can’t make what can be construed as official club or league statements without permission;
- Players can’t use copyrighted team logos and stuff without permission or tweet confidential or private information about teams or players, their families, etc.;
- Players can’t link to any MLB website or platform from social media without permission;
- No tweets condoning or appearing to condone the use of substances on the MLB banned drug list (which is everything but booze, right?);
- No ripping umpires or questioning their integrity;
- No racial, sexist, homophobic, anti-religious, etc. etc. content;
- No harassment or threats of violence;
- Nothing sexually explicit;
- Nothing otherwise illegal.
I have to agree with Craig Calcaterra, this is a great policy. There’s nothing overly restrictive, the league actually encourages players to participate in social media efforts, and there’s no hint of paranoia like you see with other leagues or sports. People like to bang on Old Man Selig for just about anything, and a favorite rallying cry is something akin to “he doesn’t understand the internet”. Considering MLB was the first league to figure out how to monetize the internet, and given this well thought out social media policy, I’d say Bud’s doing just fine.