The conference had actually proclaimed a ban on any and all social media postings about its games by fans at the games. This meant no posting about anything happening on the field to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, wherever. The main target was uploaded video, as the SEC feared endangering its lucrative television contracts with CBS and ESPN, which forbid the producing or disseminating of “any material or information about the event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information.”
Not surprisingly, the conference is now strongly considering rescinding this ban (as reported by the Charlotte Observer), citing unfavorable media and social web attention.
This is yet another indication that although we are many years into the social web revolution, many established entities still don’t get that the world has changed. Those who are winning now are organizations which have decided to join and encourage rather than attempt to ban. The simple truth is that you will be unable to stop people from talking about (and posting media from) your organization or events. What was not indicated in any of the articles I saw was how the SEC even thought it could enforce such a ludicrous policy.
By contrast, the Big 10 conference has an official social media policy that encourages fans to post from games. Social media is the true “information super-highway” of our day; it is where the buzz happens. You can’t “beat it”; but if you try, it just might beat you into the ground. On the other hand, encouraging the flow is the ultimate leveraging of the old dictum “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”