It has been reported today through Yahoo that NBA Commish David Stern is putting on the finishing touches to the NBA's Social Media Policy as it relates to their athletes utilizing the Twitter platform during the season.
Per the article, Stern believes the policy won't be "too serious."
“We just need to make sure when it’s OK to Tweet and when it’s not OK to Tweet so it at least focuses around the game,” he said. “It would look unusual for a guy sitting on the bench to pick up his cell phone, and I think we can agree that he probably shouldn’t be writing e-mails. It’s not about Twitter; it’s about the line of communication. That’s what we’re focusing on.
“We’re happy to let it play out to see if it merits all the attention that it’s getting. We don’t want to overreact.”
Did I just hear common sense coming from a professional league? I believe so!
I think Mr. Stern has benefited from having the NFL and the SEC walk on the social media landmine before he had to deal with it. By sitting and watching the feedback from angry fans, media and players alike, he's able to take the time to provide a more thoughtful and meaningful policy.
It also helps that NBA players like Shaq, Stephon Marbury, Eddie Curry and many other NBA superstars have embraced social media (for good and bad) in ways they are starting to see future potential in building fan loyalty.
I believe that Stern probably created this policy to be self-policed on the team level as seen with the Charlie Villanueva episode last March. Instead of the league cracking down on Charlie, like the NFL would probably do, all it took was Coach Skiles reprimanded him for tweeting during halftime of a game.
Charlie, thanks for being the guinea pig for the rest for the league. However, I think you'll survive.
In any event, professional leagues are slowly warming up to the realization that social media is here to stay. If the NBA's first crack at a decent approach to a social media policy is any indication, it looks like the future is great.
Steve Raquel is sports fan and an online social media expert who helps professional athletes, individuals and businesses navigate and succeed in leveraging social media as the president of Illinois Online Ventures. Contact Steve directly at sraquel@iovmedia or follow him on twitter at @sraquel.