The social media aspects of the Internet are changing the rules of the game and personal technology, (i.e. mobile phones) are changing the audience at those games. As I prepare to take in a ballgame of the 2008 World Series Champion Phillies tonight, an article on Mashable caught my eye. It seems the SEC College Football Conference has updated its media policy to be stricter on regular fans in the stands:
“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. …”
This policy is stricter than most policies out there and written that way for a reason. Since it’s publishing it has been slammed by bloggers, Tweeters, and the like as “chasing shadows,” or “not enforceable.” All true, but I don’t see security personnel scanning 90,000 fans and swooping in on a fan in the stands who’s using TwitPic to upload a shot of the latest touchdown by University of Florida.
I agree with most that state that such policies, such as the SEC’s is a fear reaction to not only the present technology that makes every fan with a mobile phone “a mobile news van” but also a policy that is trying to prevent the future from happening when phones will be uploading and sharing video of the action (can you imagine the phone bill?). The definition of audience is merging with the media. Fans are becoming reporters and reporters are relying on such technology to capture fan reaction or track down different perspectives. Remember policies about using the phone at work? Or ones regarding sending personal emails from work? Some are still in place in the corporate world. And right now there is an HR professional out there somewhere writing a policy regarding the use of social media within the company. All will be ignored or skirted as the technology becomes easier and easier for everyone to use. “It’s my mobile phone. I can do with it what I like,” is the prevailing attitude and I think the SEC will soon find that out. Technology is making it more difficult to keep events, whether they be sporting events or a plane crash on the Hudson, from being the sole domain of the media. We’re all media and the sooner the traditional media: newspapers, TV, even today’s bloggers realize it and forget about trying to legislate how we interact and use technology the easier it will become for them to reach and engage their “audience.”
What do you think?
Until next time, Tim
Somewhat related video from YouTube, could this be the future the SEC fears.