Given the gaffes made by some journalists in recent weeks and the irreverent Tweets by NFL players (leading to some team restrictions on the practice), it’s not surprising that ESPN’s guidelines, announced yesterday, put some hard limits on the use of social media by employees. It is likely that other media orgs will look to the net’s guidelines, such as, “If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t Tweet it,” as a model. The guidelines seem to serve two functions: to keep employees from posting on social media in ways that could reflect poorly on ESPN, and to allow the net to funnel all such networking to its properties, bolstering the bottom line. It’s part of the bigger movement by media companies to co-opt and monetize the grassroots appeal of social media.
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