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Major League Baseball bans MLB.com writers from using Twitter for non-baseball topics

Apr 27, 2010, 9:25 PM EDT

Multiple sources have confirmed to me that Major League Baseball is cracking down on Twitter usage, ordering MLB.com writers to cease tweeting about all non-baseball topics and scolding players for their Twitter usage in general.
As someone who has every MLB.com beat writer and several MLB players in my Twitter feed, this is very unfortunate and strikes me as a massive overreaction. Allowing the writers and players to show a bit of personality and interact with fans/readers was a positive thing and certainly caused me to become a fan of those who did it well.
Certainly setting standards for the type of content MLB employees post on Twitter is reasonable, but simply banning all non-baseball talk for MLB.com writers and preemptively scolding players who’ve done nothing wrong is … well, it’s just a real shame.
I’m told a big part of the policy change is due to MLB not wanting non-baseball tweets showing up on the MLB.com Twitter feed/aggregator, but banning every writer from non-baseball talk because of that is like killing a fly with a sledgehammer.
UPDATE: MLB denies Twitter crackdown, but facts say otherwise

  1. willmose - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Instead of outlawing Twitter, why doesn’t MLB put its money into decent HD video on MLB.TV. As we fans we promised.

  2. Jackie Taylor - Apr 27, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    I don’t see how MLB.com’s Twitter feed would have anything to do with other sportswriters “outside activities”. If, for example, I see something I like on MLB’s twitter and retweet it, they’re going to respond to me, to MLB or BOTH about the article. End of story. After that, it’s done. Here’s a tip MLB, don’t follow the sportswriters. Do your own homework and that way you won’t have a timeline full of tweets you’ll never get around to reading. :-( #FAIL

  3. Freddyisready - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Luddite.

  4. Don - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:41 AM

    Who cares what these writers had for dinner or what movies they like? Some call it showing their personality. I call it stroking their egos. Stick to baseball.

  5. Shane - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:48 AM

    Why all the outrage, people? Simply get two Twitter accounts. One for business and one for personal use. End of issue. Talk about overreaction!

  6. Peter S - Apr 28, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    I’m surprised it’s not the opposite policy. MLB isn’t making any money on me getting my news by Twitter. I’d think they’d want you to only go to their site for that stuff .. not a tweet where they don’t profit directly.

  7. Old Gator - Apr 28, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    Useful in spades – you were apparently able to learn of it twice by using Twitter. Now that’s what I call education. How nice that someone thought of putting text messages, or something derived from them but castrated to the tune of 20 characters, right up here on line where it can compete with loads of other perfectly serviceable systems that aren’t so mindlessly hamstrung. The ever-reliable herd instinct did the rest.
    .
    Useful in spades – you were apparently able to learn of it twice by using Twitter. Now that’s what I call education. How nice that someone thought of putting text messages, or something derived from them but castrated to the tune of 20 characters, right up here on line where it can compete with loads of other perfectly serviceable systems that aren’t so mindlessly hamstrung. The ever-reliable herd instinct did the rest.
    This message was brought to you by your Department of Redundancy Department.

  8. Jonny5 - Apr 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Censorship is unamerican. Even if it’s not Government censorship. How can a sport that claims to be Americas pasttime, or Americas game, employ censorship? I never thought I’d see the day where MLB became Unamerican in how it decides to do buisiness. First they pull the whole baseball card bullshit, now this? I don’t like this one bit. Not because I care about what they have to say on a more personal level, but because some people do care what they have to say on a more personal level. This is like my employer telling me what I can and can’t tweet, it’s bullshit and censorship, and I don’t like it.

  9. Old Gator - Apr 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    I like censorship. What would High Mass be like without a little smoke to set off your allergies?

  10. Jason Douglas - Apr 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I am a Minnesota Twins fan, and an online marketer who works with social media closely. I wrote a blog about Sports and Social Media Marketing (http://www.spydertrap.com/blog/2010/04/social-media-marketing-and-professional-sports/), and called out how the @MinnesotaTwins twitter account and Facebook page was poorly used. Their follow/following ratio is out of whack, and the level of engagement/replies is extremely low.
    I assumed that the Twins’ agency of record was managing the accounts, but was told that MLB had complete control over all social media channels that each team uses.
    It’s a shame that MLB is taking a timid, reactive stance on social media. You have to trust that your employees know where the lines are in discussing non-baseball topics. Set rules, and see how people react. If a negative trend appears and grows, then react. To be rigid is unfortunate.
    All I want is to be followed by my hometown team. Hope that happens, and that MLB will learn what they are doing is wrong.
    ~Jason

  11. Chase - Apr 28, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I am collecting information about MLB’s abuse of it’s apparent ability to have twitter and other website operators block users for making mentions of baseball the league doesn’t appove of. Would you mind replying with the name of the twitter account you had blocked? Thanks.

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