It's time for the US Open tennis tournament and inside the players' lounge, there's an ominous sign posted by the event's Tennis Integrity Unit warning of the dangers posed by Twitter.
Snapped quickly and posted online by CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, the posted sign and policy are an amusing reminder of what happens when the exciting world of social networking and the exciting world of tennis come together under the watchful eye of people who could care less about the Twitter part. There are many, many things that could be done with Twitter to make the tournament even more engaging. No doubt some of those things will be done. But the Tennis Integrity Unit would like to warn you, players, about what not to do. Check out the sign below.
Below, what part of the text I was able to make out despite the glare. None of it is probably unreasonable: it would really slow down the matches if players were live-Tweeting their own play. There's already a whole lot of live tweeting of other peoples' matches that goes on in pro tennis. It's not like tech and the US Open don't have a history together, either. See last year's IBM augmented reality project there, for example.
I just find it amusing to see how these kinds of warnings and prohibitions are offered. For example, Twitter is explained as "the newest and fastest growing form of social networking." Why say that on a sign? What about Google Plus? So manny giggly questions to ask when the non-tech world tries to sound serious about the Twitter.
Someday these signs will say nothing more than: Posting live updates from the court to the Internet or from off-court regarding non-public information is strictly prohibited.
Everyone will know, soon, what that means. Let's enjoy this humorous but fleeting time when familiarity with such things is apparently not yet universal.
Posted on the Players' Lounge Wall at the US Open...
Twitter is the newest and fastest growing form of social networking. Many of you will have Twitter accounts in order for your fans to follow you and to become more ingaged in you and the sport - and this is great. However popular it is, it is important to warn you of some of the dangers posed by Twittering as it relates to the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program rules.
Twittering is not allowed on court during a match. All of professional tennis has long standing policies and procedured prohibiting the use of any electronic device by a player during their mathces: this includes mobile phones, mp3 players, iPods etc.
Communication of any kind during your match to a person off court for the purposes of sending information about the match to outside sources, including Twitter, is also prohibited.
Twittering certain sensitive information concerning your match or other or players should be avoided....
Basically, it appears that even off-court, players are not to post information about the performance or well-being of other players, staff or family if that information isn't already public information. Presumably a lot of this is about preventing undue advantages by people who are making wagers on the matches? I'm not sure why tennis gamblers can't watch the relevant Twitter feeds closely for tips and hints, just like the rest of us do in other industries.