Thursday, August 6, 2009

Correcting My Mistake

Yesterday I wrote about ESPN's policy regarding social networking sites, and I have apparently erred, and I wish to apologize for that.

I received an e-mail today from Andy Hall, who is a manager of media relations for ESPN Communications. Mr. Hall was kind enough to pass on some more information on the matter, in the form of an article which appears on USA Today's website regarding ESPN's policy. You can read the entire article here.

I will quote from the article:

Take ESPN's latest "Guidelines for Social Networking" that were slated to be announced Wednesday but Tuesday leaked via Twitter. ESPN's Ric Bucher tweeted ESPN "prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN." ESPN's Kenny Mayne followed with a timely international analogy: "was informed 2nd hand of Taliban-like decree against further Twitter."

If only there was such foul play afoot. Instead, the policy suggests ESPN staffers shouldn't tweet what they "wouldn't say" on-air or write online. Which should be pretty obvious, given that if ESPN staffers communicate something deemed offensive, nobody cared about the specific venue. ESPN'sDana Jacobson was suspended last year for foul comments she made at the podium of a celebrity roast in Atlantic City — it wouldn't have mattered if she'd delivered them by carrier pigeon once they became public.

The ESPN policy suggests tweeting should be just one more product, meaning no "discussing internal policies," no "disparaging colleagues or competitors" or defending "your work against those who challenge it."

Companies like the idea of their tweeting to hype company stuff, but not having them send online traffic to other websites. Now, all ESPN tweets need to appear simultaneously on and Says editor Rob King, "Twitter is evolutionary, not revolutionary."

I wish to apologize for jumping to the conclusions that I did concerning ESPN's policies. I neglected to wait until ESPN had a chance to respond to all the buzz going on yesterday. I was using the information that I had at that time, and I appreciate Mr. Hall for taking the time to point out the fact that I had not head all the facts when I wrote the piece yesterday.

Thanks, Mr. Hall. It appears that nothing from the fans' point of view will change regarding NASCAR fans getting their news.

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