You don’t “limit” social networking. What you do is limit freedom of speech.
ESPN’s very act highlights the emerging supremacy of conversations over content. They get the power of coalescing conversations. The fact they want to own where those conversations live shows a disrespect for freedom of speech. Ok, they are paying for journalists words as manifested in stories. But their conversations, personal brands… their lifestreams as well?
As disrespectful as this is to their journalists, it is equally disrespectful to their customers. I was one. In effect, ESPN wants to install a roadblock in our lifestream and fork our conversation to where they want it to take place. Rather encouraging participation in many communities, they want it to occur just in their community. Rather than meeting us in our favorite meeting places, they want us to meet at their watering hole exclusively.
The effect of this move will be to diminish the authority of their journalists by reducing their participation in the lifestream.
I’ll vote with my mouse and take my conversation elsewhere.