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THE TWITTER EFFECT

Wherever Web 2.0 goes, so ends the traditional communications hierarchy. The sooner organizations realize that transparency is better than controlled opacity, the better. Here, the NFL is attempting to prevent players from streaming their lives.

For the first time, fans aren’t dependent on media reports for training camp updates. Players themselves are divulging certain details, from the humorous to the inconsequential, using Twitter feeds

In all, 10 Redskins players use active Twitter accounts to keep in touch with friends and fans through 140-character bursts. It’s part of a revolution that has touched other sports, but one that didn’t boom in the NFL until after last season’s Super Bowl. Since then, dozens of players throughout the league have opened Twitter accounts, giving fans an intriguing look at the offseason — previously a period in which most players essentially disappeared from public view.

The league sent out word almost immediately that it has a pre-existing rule barring the use of mobile devices from the bench area. Ochocinco, who has nearly 79,000 followers, immediately responded on his Twitter page: “Damn NFL and these rules, I am going by my own set of rules, I ain’t hurting nobody or getting in trouble, I am putting my foot down!!”

Rather than trying to block conversations, the NFL and its owners would be better off engaging in the stream of consciousness around its games and players. Rather than attempting to disable when and where it can occur, they would be better to encourage it where appropriate.

One Response

  1. By Kate Carruthers on August 2nd, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    It is funny how corporations seem to so often take a negative view of this kind of communication. Especially when their previous control of the message was largely illusory anyway.

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