Kev with social networks

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  • Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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  • Kevin Pietersen's foul-mouthed Twitter outburst, in which he revealed his omission from England's one-day squad prior to the official announcement, could hasten the ECB's ban on players using the social-networking tool. However, the Professional Cricketers Association doesn't believe a complete ban on social media is the answer, adding that the game needs to embrace new technology.

    Pietersen accidently posted on his Twitter feed a message that is believed to have been intended as a private text. "Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too. Its a f**k up!!," he wrote on his account kevinpp24, before deleting it minutes later, but not before it had been picked up by several users and circulated around the internet.
    "Players have responsibilities when they use social media and there and things that are inappropriate to say just as there would be in a newspaper column," Angus Porter, the PCA chief executive, told Cricinfo. "It's about how we manage new media and there are discussions underway about whether that means focussing on one particular outlet or site.
    "But it's hard to imagine a world without things like Facebook and I think the game needs to embrace these new technologies. If they are used in the right way they can help promote the game."
    Geoff Miller, the national selector was clearly unimpressed both by Pietersen's outburst and the use of Twitter in general. Graeme Swann and James Anderson are also prolific tweeters but have so far managed to avoid controversy, but Tim Bresnan landed himself in trouble during last year's Champions Trophy in South Africa and had to apologise after sending an abusive tweet to one of his followers.
    "I'll talk to KP," Miller said. "Whether there is an apology or not, I'm sure [England coach] Andy Flower will have a word with him. I don't like that kind of language - and I don't use that language at all. I don't follow Twitter and I'm not a great believer in that kind of thing. I don't think it is necessary."
    Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, said Pietersen will regret his actions. "What he did on his Twitter account was totally wrong," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I think that's something Kevin will regret for a long time."
    Even before Pietersen's outburst it had been reported that England players were facing a ban from Twitter with Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss concerned it could lead to dressing-room secrets escaping into the public domain. "There are already guidelines written into the contracts about media use, but clearly it is something that will be discussed," Porter said.
    However, according to Louis Halpern, an online reputation expert, the board would be advised to look before it leaps to a reaction.
    "The ECB should be careful not to be too hasty in disciplining or banning its players from Twitter," Halpern told Cricinfo. "Although a ban would prevent leaking sensitive information and reduce the risk to its reputation from ill-considered player tweets, it could risk alienating an already distanced fan base.
    "Particularly in the case of cricket, where international games are no longer covered by terrestrial television, fans have never been more far removed from their heroes. Social media platforms such as Twitter can be a perfect tonic to those disenfranchised, non-Sky subscribers, giving the ECB and individual players a great opportunity to tap into and communicate directly with their most loyal fan bases."

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