Imagine being a Tennessee Volunteer football fan. There are a lot of them, maybe including yourself. So, you and over 100,000 other fans go to Knoxville on a fall Saturday morning to watch your beloved Volunteers take on Alabama, you take a picture with your cell phone, then a security guard comes up saying "I'll need you to erase that picture and to leave the stadium now".

Now, this is a stretch but if the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and CBS get their way, this can indeed happen. In a nutshell, this means no Twitter, Facebook or YouTube for fans. Mashable reports that the conference informed its schools of this policy in early August. The big reason is that CBS has a 3 billion dollar advertising deal with the SEC over the next 15 years. They want coverage from them and no one else. I then thought three things.

1) Good Luck with that.
2) The SEC is getting a lot of heat. What about CBS?
3) Maybe, just maybe, CBS could... I don't know, encourage fans to use social media to help them create more content, more fans that CBS could present in more places?

Maybe it's because CBS doesn't have the largest new media presence, but it's definitely impressive. Here are a few.

CBS News Twitter Page
CBS Twitter Central
CBS YouTube Channel
CBS Facebook Fan Page

So, some examples. Perhaps a young football fan from Chattanooga and his father YouTube the Volunteers as they rush out of the tunnel. The fan could share the video with CBS, it could then be forwarded to WDEF, Chattanooga's CBS affiliate. This content gets on the news, the boy and father are just elated! Everybody wins.

Maybe, CBS would want to encourage some of their 5000+ Facebook Page fans to go to these games and present photos online. This makes the Facebook Page more compelling and up-to-date for the fans. This could also let CBS, well, connect more with their fan base.

How about that Twitter? Turns out CBS is mighty popular. As of this writing, they have close to 1 million followers! A fan could say, tweet how great of a game he's watching at Neyland Stadium. CBS could reply back to him giving a nice personal touch while reminding the other almost million followers that there's a great football game on CBS.

It appears that CBS would rather have fans watch TV about stuff that happened before instead of embracing fans with what is happening right now. It will be interesting to see if they stick with it. Rumor has it that CBS and SEC are reconsidering how they want to do this.

Update: Rumor is correct and it appears they have partially reversed their ban for common sense users.

August 17, 2009

Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.

With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.

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