I’m not going to delve into all the details of the policy (Calcaterra does a nice job outlining them in his post), but much of what you’d expect to be in it is there. A lot of it as common sense — don’t condone steroid use in a tweet, for example — but as we’ve seen all too many times, common sense takes a back seat when some athletes get their hands on a smartphone.
That said, while I felt that MLB needed a social media policy, I was worried that it would drop the ball and try to tamp down players’ use of Twitter and other platforms. That would have been more fuel for those who view MLB as an antiquated, stodgy, behind-the-times organization — which, at times, it has been — that ignores what’s good for it, and for fans.
Fortunately, MLB’s policy appears to be refreshingly progressive. Far from trying to quell social media use among players, it actually encourages them “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.”
This is absolutely the right move. Baseball, as “individual” as major team sports get, has thrived on having a colorful cast of characters long before social media became a part of everyday life. Encouraging those characters to use social media as a platform to directly engage their fans can only build interest and brand loyalty — and inject more fun into a game that could desperately use it.
By essentially telling noted tweeters like Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, “We like what you’re doing here; don’t ever change,” MLB is not only helping those players build their fan base, it’s also helping improve its overall product.
Sure, some players are still going to tweet regrettable things from time to time, but that’s a small price to pay for what baseball stands to gain from social media.
I’ll gladly hit the “Like” button on this one.