When is it OK to tweet? If you’re a player or coach in the National Football League, you’d better be sure there’s no time on the clock.
The NFL (aka the No Fun League) last week issued a set of Twitter guidelines for players and coaches. It’s OK to tweet up to 90 minutes before and after games, but leave your BlackBerry or iPhone in airplane mode during the game. And you officials, don’t even think about tweeting at all, unless it’s blowing your whistle.
It isn’t just the use of Twitter the league is silencing during the games, the rules also apply to all social media applications, such as Facebook, MySpace or any of the myriad others sprouting up.
I can understand the NFL wanting to have some control over the musings of their players and coaches. Game time means the guys are on the clock, and using social media to talk to their fans most likely means they aren’t fully focused on their primary task of playing football.
The league also continues to ban play-by-play descriptions during games by anyone, which I think is nearly impossible to enforce when it comes to the 140-character “tweets” that fans can send to their buddies without tickets or unable to watch on the TV.
I use Twitter, as do many of my colleagues. My Twitter handle is @algibes, and I encourage you to sign up for the service and “follow” me. I reserve Twitter primarily as a professional channel, sending tweets when I post a blog item or my column is published.
I usually include a link to the item I’m mentioning, which results in an easy way for readers to get to the piece. The same is true of many of the journalists, publicists and organizations I follow, as the Twitter channel is a great way to reach many people with a single message.
The Review-Journal (@reviewjournal) sends tweets with breaking news items, and also posts regular updates to Facebook, including embedded videos, although they don’t yet play on iPhones or iPod Touch devices. Facebook says they are “working on it.”
I’m also active on Facebook, and reserve this channel for real friends and family. My posts there sometimes include column links, but it’s mostly for fun and keeping in touch with my cybertribe.
One of the niceties about social media is its portability. A version of the application you use on your computer is also available for most later-model mobile phones. This is where BlackBerrys and iPhones excel. I’m able to keep informed throughout the day.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me how social media applications have changed your habits. Be specific about how you use the tools. Do you use certain applications to reach specific audiences or groups? Send me an e-mail with “social media” as the subject, or send me a direct message on Twitter.
For me, it’s always the right time to tweet.
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Facebook iPhone app
Attention iPhone users who are also on Facebook. If you haven’t done so already, head immediately to the iTunes store and download the updated Facebook application. The improvement over the previous version is tremendous, as they’ve started from the ground floor and built a mobile app that is arguably better than the computer version.