A few days ago a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune by the name of Todd Dybas was “reprimanded” by the University of Washington (of which I am an alumnus) for “tweeting too much” during the men’s basketball game against Loyola. Apparently his live tweets were violating a head-scratching policy put in place by the university that limits reporters to no more than 20 “in-game updates” for basketball (football gets 45 tweets, which is confusing to me because you’d think basketball would receive more as it is arguably the more fast-paced game of the two).
UW reserves the right to revoke a “Credential Holder” for exceeding the maximum number of tweets during either of these sporting events. This policy was implemented “prior to the 2012-’13 athletic competition year,” but I’m wondering how long it will remain in place if the school continues to receive criticism for a pretty ludicrous stance on social media usage. The entire point of providing live coverage of an event is to give up-to-the-minute updates, whether that’s by live-blogging, live-tweeting, recording a podcast, etc. To impose restrictions on that live coverage takes attention away from your event and towards the fact that you’re acting like a Scrooge.
The university should encourage live coverage of their events, as it empowers passionate and loyal users to share what’s going on with fans who can’t be there in person but are still interested in knowing what’s happening. Instead, their policy shows a fundamental lack of understanding in how social media works. An educational institution should be embracing technology and more open channels of communication, not working to stifle them. As much as it pains me to say it, my alma mater is hurting its brand by coming across as stodgy, clueless, and somewhat bullying.
Amusingly, Seattle University’s men’s basketball coach tweeted at Dybas and extended an invitation to cover their basketball games to Dybas’s heart’s content, which is yet another example of a company’s competition working to take advantage of that company’s negative situation:
I would urge UW to drop this inane policy and let journalists provide as much coverage as possible. After the Husky men’s basketball team’s embarrassing loss to Abany two nights ago, they could use a little good karma back in their favor.