Recently the Football Association has been planning a new code of conduct for the England football team that was expected to mean that players could get suspended for misconduct. Today we’ve seen the first evidence that these expectations are being met.
The full details of this code of conduct are not being made public, but just days after the announcement one particular item has. England players are now banned from tweeting about a match 24 hours before a game without “management approval”. In addition comments on Twitter about “the opposition, management or individuals could all result in disciplinary action”.
The FA have said that this is not directly due to the actions of anyone in particular. However, it would seem that it might be partly in response to various outbursts by people such as Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand. Both these players have publicly used Twitter to direct their frustrations at the FA.
So is this fair on the players? It’s a bit of a grey area, isn’t it? The Twitter profiles being used are their own personal accounts, so shouldn’t the players decide what they can and can’t say? Isn’t this just an infringement on free speech? Should the association be allowed to muscle in on the action?
Before we go any further into this, let’s bring it all a bit closer to home. You might like to stop and think for a moment about your place of work. Let’s pretend you’ve had a rough day and you’re on the way home. You’re feeling a little emotional about what’s just happened and so you pull out your smart phone and reel off a four letter tweet about your company.
You receive some sympathetic support from your followers and, as you make the decision to translate that support into feeling better, you get on with your evening. “Thank you Twitter.” You say to yourself “ you’ve just saved me from crying into my pint later”.
Or has it? Remember, this conversation you’ve just had is now exposed to the world and, as you forget about it, the wings of the butterfly cause a hurricane. By the time you get to the office the next day your boss is seething. It turns out that your tweet has just put a contract in jeopardy because a prospective client is not impressed by what they’ve seen.
This is the situation that all companies want to avoid. Many are petrified of something like this happening. Of course, some use the ostrich approach and get sand in their ears as they completely ignore social media. This isn’t wise though, as the 2 tone grey area mentioned earlier turns into the colourful and viral punch of 50 shades. Ouch!
So what’s the answer? Categorically, the FA is behind the times, but to be fair they are finally doing the right thing by putting a policy in place. This is something that all organisations must be doing (whether or not they are taking advantage of the many benefits of social media).
What’s your view? Is this something that you’ve had to deal with? What was your approach? Are your policies enough or are they too draconian? How often are you updating them? Is this enough?
If you’re struggling to answer, why not connect in the comments below or get in touch with us here. Stream:20 have extensive experience in this area and we’d be glad to help.
Written by James Lawson, Consultant