One of my favorite predictions to work into conversation is the theory that, within a year, all professional athletes will be barred from Twitter by their respective leagues.
While that may be a bit out there, the news that Major League Baseball is cracking down on its players’ social-media use is why I think it will eventually become a reality. Our Joe Cowley reports that the league is “playing Big Brother” with Twitter, and sent out guidelines to players reminding them to be careful with their 140-character messages.
Perhaps of more concern to me is the report that MLB has ordered its beat writers to stop tweeting about non-baseball topics.
What’s the big deal, you ask?
Well, part of Twitter’s appeal is the ability to see personality and exchange in two-way communication. Sure, it’s not crucial for us to know what the Pirates beat writer thought of the food in the St. Louis press box or what the Red beat writer drives to work. But it’s those very tidbits, those real-world things that make us feel like them, just two people talking baseball.
Now, with all of the Twitter issues that have arisen, it makes sense that MLB would want to keep a close eye on things. Just yesterday, former major leaguer Mike Bacsik was fired from a radio station as a result of a racially-motivated tweet. And it seems every week last fall brought a new tweet-related problem for the NFL.
NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman thinks a major reason for the policy change is so that non-baseball tweets don’t show up on MLB’s Twitter aggregator. That’s a reasonable desire, but you have to wonder if there’s some overreaction going on — and if this ban will last.