The SEC has decided that fans can no longer share their views during games through social media. With the SEC leading the charge, there are also thoughts that the rest of the NCAA may join in on the rally and prevent their fans from using these social media tools as well due to privacy reasons and copyright violations. I heard about this last night on FOX 25 news and was absolutely confused. I then decided to look further into it and found an article written by Adam Ostrow from Mashable.
Adam Ostrow explained the situation much better than I understood close to midnight on FOX (I was so tired I thought they said the players couldn't tweet during games and couldn't have pictures of themselves on their facebook accounts):
Ticketed fans can’t produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event.
Translated, that means no Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TwitPic, or any other service that could in any way compete with authorized media coverage of the event. In the case of the SEC, authorized media coverage rights belong to CBS, who has a $3 billion deal with the conference over the next 15 years according to The St Petersburg Times
That last paragraph pretty much sums it up for me. The SEC doesn't want to lose their contract with CBS due to competitors that are writing blogs, tweeting, live streaming games and are outright better than the announcers in the booth. This is very understandable, but much like Ostrow states, uncontrolable. The SEC isn't going to hire people to hunt down IP addresses or comb through crowds at football games taking away cell phones and breaking lap tops.
The Socially Exempt Conference
With the SEC banning the use of social media tools at their games, how many people are going to miss out on catching the game on television? With the advancement of social media through Facebook and Twitter updates, how many more viewers pick up the remote and check out the game based on someone else's updates that's actually in the stadium? Much like the use of social media to market a website, restaurant or mall, the SEC could use social media to it's advantage for television rating increases with CBS to sign a larger contract in the future. Social media is kind of like performance enhancement for television, wouldn't you say.
I don't like the idea, I don't think it would be possible for the SEC to control an entire stadium from using social media tools on their cell phones and I think it will all fade away once the SEC realizes how much they can actually benefit from the use of social media in a positive way. Until then, I'm sure the lack of exposure the SEC gets will give them enough numbers to crunch to change their minds.
Thanks to lambdachialpha for the NCAA logo.