Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

No Tweets for You! NFL Bans Tweets Before, During, and After Games


On Monday, the National Football League announced that it will now limit use of social media and networks during the season. Players, coaches, officials, personnel, third-party representatives, and even the media are prohibited from updating their status, blogging, or tweeting 90 minutes before a game until post-game interviews are completed.

You can bet that the NFL will pay particular attention to Chad Ochocinco, who recently boasted in a personal Ustream chat that he plans to circumvent the rules and tweet while playing – even if it’s through a representative or strategic social operative.

I do find this interesting as I understand the NFL’s intent – I honestly do. But, in reality this is an untenable strategy and therefore not worth fighting.

Imagine a national or global brand monitoring intense volumes of conversations in real-time (at trending topic speed), which usually averages about 4,000+ updates per hour. Now picture the NFL attempting to identify offending parties within the noise and in turn, singling them out for official review and potential enforcement. The NFL would essentially need to implement a social media police force, which is impractical and expensive, or it would require the use of turks to perform this process on game days, but still face the burden of justifying action.

The ONLY way that this is even remotely enforceable, requires that the teams take responsibility and liability for the behavior of individuals and subsequently pay the penalties as a team for every incident.

Perhaps there’s a way to productively leverage this activity much in the same way that FOX is incorporating Tweets into its Glee and Fringe programs.

Remember, social media has yet to penetrate the living room…that’s the last mile – and it’s a game changer.

Perhaps the NFL should pay attention to the St. John’s men’s basketball team.

And players…and I mean this literally…keep your eye on the ball and not on Twitter. While cultivating relationships with your fans to shift from a fandom to a real community is important, your job is to win. It’s how you will earn fans now and every time you #crushit. Give them something to tweet about during the game based on your achievements and not your tweets.

What do you think?

Connect with Brian Solis on:
, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Plaxo, Plurk,, BackType, Posterous, or Facebook

Kindle users, subscribe to PR 2.0 here.

New book and Conversation Prism poster now available (click below to purchase):

« Previous Post

98 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “No Tweets for You! NFL Bans Tweets Before, During, and After Games”

  1. Ed says:

    “…90 minutes before…”, tells me that the casinos’ lobbyists are in play…

  2. Jonathan Trenn says:

    It’s ridiculous.  It serves no purpose.  What harm will it cause?  My guess is that media outlets will negotiate something with the NFL after this season in a way that will allow them to cover the games.  The NFL doesn’t get it.  They need to hire you Brian.

  3. Brian Solis says:

    Thanks Jonathan! I just updated the post with a note to players too… 🙂

  4. Guest says:

    NFL as dumb as the copyright people? NFL is just the League – they make it happen, but they don’t own it, who the hell do they think they are? The old days of secrecy and information control are over, perhaps if they asked nicely?

  5. Joe Cascio says:

    The NFL is really shoveling against the tide on this. Corporations need to find a way to deal with social media and networking instead of trying to deny and outlaw it. You can’t stop people from talking to one another.

  6. Tim Otis says:

    Two things, Brian:
    One- I think players having their own Twitter accounts and tweeting while on the bench or locker room is risky, as something may be leaked that the NFL did not want shared. I can only think this is why they are enforcing a ban on tweets. We see too much self-disclosure all the time on Twitter and Facebook status updates. Perhaps if they want to keep tweets alive, have someone like the commentator spew out the tweets on behalf of the NFL. Sure it’s more general, but it’s also safer and better managed.  Also, why should I go to a game if I’m getting all the action on my Twitter feed or the hashtag #crushit? Not sure where ticket sales stand, but to use as an illustration; when Netflix came on the rise, it put many Blockbusters out of business.  Rhetorically-speaking, what happens if Twitter decides to monetize the players’ tweets?

    Two- Interesting point about Twitter policing. I think at this point we all realize that there is no stopping social media and particularly Twitter. We’re just so intrigued by having a reputation to manage in 140 characters or less. If you don’t agree with policing, I certainly think that you should consider this: players’ tweets should be monitored. The NFL’s reputation is at stake, afterall.

  7. Guest says:

    “Remember, social media has yet to penetrate the living room…that’s the last mile – and it’s a game changer.”

    Actually it has, I can update Twitter and Facebook from the comfort of my couch using Verizon FIOS and the new Widgets they added. So social media has, in fact penetrated th living room, all be it on a small scale.

  8. Steve Gorges says:

    Is the attempt to control simply a misstep out of bounds – or does it warrant a flag, a major penalty and a “Gee I can’t believe you’re taking a page from the Feds Playbook and their Cybersecurity Act (S.733).”
    Can it be the media at large is forcing the NFL’s outstretched hand? The largest paychecks the NFL receives will continue to come from the networks, but only as long as they’re not getting scooped by Tweets.

  9. Guest says:

    here comes TwitterGate

  10. Brian Solis says:

    Somebody added a comment yesterday that this was possibly a reflection of casino lobbyists at work. Mysteriously, the comment disappeared soon after it was posted.

  11. Walter Schwabe says:

    Brian, yet another case demonstrating a lack of respect and understanding being demonstrated by a large org.  Clearly, this is also a trust issue.  Frankly, it’s too bad they haven’t invested more into understanding this citizen-based environment and potential, opting instead to demonstrate foolishness.  You’re right it would be very difficult to monitor but not impossible…    

  12. Guest says:

    I’m not sure how it’s unenforceable unless every NFL-sourced tweet is not only unanonymous/under-an-assumed-name but also not followed by anyone.

    If someone realizes that 8-o-5-o is tweeting that he burned somebody on that last catch, the NFL will learn of it. A fine will be issued.

    Saying it’s unenforceable and pointless is the same as saying the league shouldn’t ban HGH because it can’t be tested for. Nonsensical. What you learn of, you enforce.

    There are several clear reasons for this: cheating, gambling, preserving play-by-play statistical revenue, and simple image.

    You all need to get out of SoMa… NFL players can’t even wear the clothes of their own choosing on gameday. Suggesting that this is some horrible travesty that they can’t tweet is inbred silliness. Get out of your own bubbles.

  13. Guest says:

    Sorry, “unanonymous” should be anonymous of course.

  14. Lisa says:

    If China could not prevent Tweets about the big earthquake from getting out of China and into the world, then the NFL won’t be able to control this either. Oh, and remember when the high definition encryption code was posted on Digg and the AACS tried to stop it from spreading? That didn’t work either. The big guys aren’t in charge here. Honesty, being real and sharing what is real wins.

  15. Guest says:

    Color me stupid maybe, but what the hell is their point??

    My initial thought is that this is ridiculous!  The NFL can do nothing but benefit from additional exposure, IMO.  What secrets are there to give away, with cameras and news people every where already?  I get that all involved need to be doing their jobs and not Tweeting, but to specifically ban social media during the games (not to mention before and after)? 


  16. Clint Wilson says:

    We used to do this at games via SMS on our very first cell phones which was the bane of our Social Media before the word even existed.  This is just putting a public face on the conversation which is out there forever.  Great conversation piece.

  17. Games Free says:

    How come thats facety aint it.

  18. Free Games says:

    At last.. A social media hype have a contribution on a new sport regulation.. Funny indeed. ^^

  19. Free Games says:

    At last.. A social media hype have a contribution on a new sport regulation.. Funny indeed. ^^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Mailing List

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Stay Connected