You've Gone Too Far, Twitter

failwhale/crossoutThe Twitter crackdown is on. Yes, it also includes its social networking confederates, Facebook and MySpace, but the real culprit is Twitter, as a breaking news service of offhand remarks, idle thoughts and inside dope. Even as it continues to spread relentlessly, groups across military and civilian life are taking steps to contain the rising tide of tweets.

The Marines on Monday issued an order banning Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media services from its networks as a security precaution. 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.

5 comments about "You've Gone Too Far, Twitter".
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  1. catherine Wachs, August 5, 2009 at 2:07 p.m.

    I think that's a wise decision. Loose lips sink ships!... Although that's pretty hard to do in the desert....

  2. Kelly Dechiaro from Chiaro Designs, August 5, 2009 at 2:21 p.m.

    <<--a new micro-messaging service that can get around the clampdown. Maybe one with a 70-character or 35-character limit?-->>
    There's a great mockumentary about a service called Flutter, that would only allow 26 characters per Flap.

  3. Augie Ray from American Express, August 5, 2009 at 5:28 p.m.

    I'm not sure any of this makes sense. These actions give the illusion of security without really stopping issues from happening.

    Marines text and email people quite a bit. Leaks are as likely to happen in these private communications as they are in public discourse in Social Media (where they can at least be more easily monitored.)

    The NFL is really concerned players will give away game plans? Come on--with all the friends, peers, and news connections players have, it hardly seems a 140-character tweet is the biggest risk the Packers have.

    We live in an increasingly transparent world. The secret to secrecy isn't to prevent people from doing things, it's to develop and communicate rules for employees to follow and to monitor for compliance.

    Augie Ray

  4. Mark Walsh from mediapost, August 5, 2009 at 5:59 p.m.

    Kelly, I'll have to check out that Twitter mockumentary--thanks for the tip.

  5. Mandy Minor, August 31, 2009 at 4:16 p.m.

    Can't fight technology and change; best to figure out how to handle it now than hope it goes away.

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