My daughter once tried to hold back the ocean’s waves with her hands. Didn’t work.
I thought of that as I thought of how organizations have tried to hold back Twitter with their hands. Doesn’t work. But, unlike me dealing with my daughter, the organizations have punished those who used Twitter.
Don’t get me wrong. Writing racist things deserves a good spanking. Maybe sending the athlete home is the appropriate response. But suspending the Twitter account of a reasonable corporate critic is beyond the pale, especially when the complaining organization is NBC, a MEDIA company.
This is what we know as a teachable moment. When coaches prohibit their athletes from tweeting, they are missing an opportunity. Rather than banning Twitter, the coaches should teach their young charges how to act in public. It is a lesson that many of them need to learn.
My social media policy is “Don’t be stupid.” The Olympic athletes and NBC were being stupid. They didn’t understand what Twitter and social media networks are. But they don’t have to remain stupid. They — and the other athletes and corporations — could learn proper social behavior. Corporations could learn about freedom of speech and the press. I had never heard of Guy Adams until I read that his account had been suspended after a complaint from NBC. Sometimes the smart thing to do is to grow a thicker skin.
Organizations and coaches can’t turn back the clock any more than my daughter could stop a wave with her hands. Damned if they won’t try, though.