Advice is aplenty for business owners on what should comprise their social media policy.  The universal comment is the policy should be tailored to the particular business and there is no one-size-fits-all policy. 

Professional sports leagues are not any different.  Last year the NFL set forth its social media policy in a league memo.  The highlights:

  •  players can use social media 90 minutes before any game and following media interviews post-game; and
  • players nor anyone acting on their behalf can use social media platforms during a game including halftime.

The league policy was in response to some more prolific social media users like Chad Ochocinco who has a  million followers.  During the pre-season this year he was fined for the following tweet:

Man I’m sick of getting hit like that, it’s the damn preseason ——! 1 day I’m gone jump up and start throwing hay makers (sic).

Fines have continued.  Most recently, Michael Oher, the subject of The Blindside book/movie was fined for tweeting about his injury status during a game. 

The NFL’s policy is clear and more importantly it is enforced.  To some degree it is monitoring the tweets of its employees (the players) and fining them appropriately when a violation occurs.  Not all companies can afford to monitor social activity but they can employ spot checks periodically.  The point is to get a tailored policy in place and uniformly enforce it.