May 10, 2010, 4:45 PM EDT
As part of his “Media Power Rankings” column at SI.com Richard Deitsch followed up on the Twitter/MLB story from last month:
NBCSports.com baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman reported that Major League Baseball had cracked down on the Twitter usage of its MLB.com writers, ordering them to stop tweeting non-baseball topics. … SI.com confirmed independently that MLB.com writers were told by superiors to keep their social media musings to baseball only.
On Friday SI.com called MLB vice president of public relations Patrick Courtney to get clarification about what its writers can and cannot do on Twitter. Asked if MLB writers had been specifically asked not to tweet non-baseball related items or notes, Courtney said he was not aware of that, though he did note that MLB sent an email in April to all its non-playing employees outlining its social media policy.
Courtney said MLB encourages its writers to be individuals in the social media space and that the organization wants its writers to gain a following among fans. There is no arguing that MLB Advanced Media has been at the forefront of social media among sports entities …That’s why this chilling (my words) either directly or indirectly is disappointing. MLB should trust its writers, and the people who read them. Part of the fun of Twitter is learning about the personalities of those behind the 140 characters.
At the time MLB inexplicably reacted as if I was making the whole story up (before eventually softening their stance a bit), so I’m glad to see that Deitsch uncovered similar information from his sources. I also agree with him that a big part of my Twitter enjoyment comes from getting to know the personalities of people I follow beyond the persona that comes across in their day-to-day job, which is why MLB.com writers being “encouraged” to cease non-baseball posts was so disappointing.
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