The Blue Bird and The Red Devil
Okay so what I’m about to tell you is something that I am immensely proud of and something that is as much a part of me as the city I was born in. It may cause some of you to judge me, so much so that some of you may never grace the pages of this blog again. I dearly hope that isn’t the case.
I’m a Manchester United fan.
For those of you who don’t know, Manchester United (Man Utd) is a football club from the north west of England that plays in the English Premier League and has arguably been one of the most successful clubs in world football. But Man Utd are much, much more than just that. They are a global organisation that operate through what they refer to on their website as “three principal sectors – Commercial, Broadcasting and Matchday”. So besides being a squad of elite athletes and coaching staff, Man Utd is an incredibly large and complex organisation that creates revenue for their global brand via such things as sponsorship deals, merchandising, new media content delivery, ticketing and broadcasting. Now whilst an organisation as diverse as this that potentially has employees from the boardroom all the way to the ticketing office using social media, the purpose of this post is to highlight how the Club can avoid the risks that its ambassadors (the players) could inadvertently expose them to.
- Loss of Confidential Information
Man Utd has 16 players on their verified Twitter member’s list all of which who theoretically have access to a wide variety of confidential information, player fitness, match day tactics and training regimes to name but a few. Couple this risk with the racially charged comments recently made by Rio Ferdinand on Twitter it is clear that there needs to be either better training on the acceptable use of social media among the players or a more stringent social media policy; probably a combination of the two. Comments made by Man Utd Manager Sir Alex Ferguson suggests that they do have a policy in place as he states that the club has “given instructions to the players that they cannot talk about Manchester United”, but clearer guidelines would surely need to extend to the sorts of comments that the club finds unacceptable as well as those in breach of confidentiality agreements.
Success is something that has driven this club since it was formed in 1878 and for this to continue and for the reputation of the club not to suffer I believe that while embracing all that social/enterprise media has to offer, there needs to be a greater focus on teaching the club’s ambassadors of its proper usage. Thereby educating them on the positives it can foster and hopefully preventing the temptation to use it as a soapbox so they can keep the devil on the emblem and not on their shoulders.
About andrewdcookProject Manager/Animator/Beer Snob
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