If you’re going to be socially active, please consider using protection. That’s Major League Baseball’s message to players, managers and other personnel who use social media.
As part of last November’s collective bargaining agreement, MLB put a policy in effect for the 2012 season to address the use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Every MLB team received a memo this week encouraging players, managers, coaches and team personnel to connect with fans through social media saying:
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.
But the league’s encouragement comes with some ground rules. What is socially acceptable? What’s off-limits? Here’s what the policy says:
The policy prohibits:
- 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;
- No ripping umpires or questioning their integrity;
- No racial, sexist, homophobic, anti-religious content etc.;
- No harassment or threats of violence;
- Nothing sexually explicit;
- Nothing otherwise illegal
In addition, MLB has prohibited any posting to social media 30 minutes before first pitch, during a game or until 10 minutes after the final out. Break the rules and face disciplinary action from commissioner Bud Selig.
The news served as a media invitation stir the pot with two of the league’s most notorious violators, who I shall leave nameless. I will just refer to them @OzzieGuillen and @LoMoMarlins. The two anonymous MLB employees sat down for a television interview to discuss the new policy and how it will affect their snappy 140-character dispatches in the future …