The Marines on Monday issued an order banning Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media services from its networks as a security precaution. Wired.com notes the restriction comes even as the Department of Defense more widely embraces social media as a recruiting and outreach tool. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff himself has 4,000 followers on Twitter.
That begs the question, if the Marines are training future leaders, what better place to find followers than Twitter?
The microblogging service certainly gained a higher profile after becoming the PR outlet of choice for athletes including Shaq (1.9 million followers) and Lance Armstrong (1.7 million). But now it's also being outlawed in the NFL, with teams such as the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins putting the kibosh on Twitter for fear of players giving away game plans, information on injuries and other locker room secrets. Or just saying something stupid without being able to blame it on a reporter taking a quote out of context.
The Twitter backlash also extends to the media, however, in the form of ESPN's new guidelines barring on-air talent, reporters and writers from maintaining sports-related sites or blogs and requiring approval to discuss sports on any social networking sites. All of these efforts to sideline Twitter point to a growing business opportunity for a new micro-messaging service that can get around the clampdown. Maybe one with a 70-character or 35-character limit?
Or Twitter could just go undercover. The Onion last week reported Apple released the latest version of the iPhone-a model that's invisible to all but its hippest and most devoted users. Surely it will need an invisible Twitter app to go with it.