Heat ban Twitter during 'office hours'

Updated: September 28, 2009, 4:40 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- At 10:05 Monday morning, Dwyane Wade told his 96,348 followers on Twitter that he was heading to work.

"The first drive in to the beginning of the season," Wade wrote.

That was fine with the Miami Heat.

But there won't be any updates by "dwadeofficial" from work.

Miami players can no longer participate in social networking while at the arena, home or away. Many Miami players are accomplished tweeters, often sending messages to each other at all hours of the day and night. But practice or game times, it's not allowed.

"We'll have strict rules on it," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday at the team's media day. "The NBA has put in strict rules about it. Social media, we will not accept that in our building during office hours. That's the way we'll look at it when we're coming to practice, to shootarounds and to games. We're coming to work and we're coming to get a job done. That's not time for social media."

There wasn't any known instance of Heat players tweeting during games last year. Charlie Villanueva created a stir last season when he sent a message on his feed during halftime of a game when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks, and teams are expecting to receive formal guidelines from the NBA about Twitter and things of that nature.

Plenty of other teams, both pro and college, have similar rules in place.

"It's fascinating how fast technology is moving forward and how people will be able to use it," said Spoelstra, who has a Twitter account but does not post onto the feed. "But you have to be educated now about it."

Twitter was a burden for Heat forward Michael Beasley this summer. He closed his accounts twice, the second time after posting two messages that left some concerned that he was depressed over a looming 30-day stay in a Houston rehabilitation facility.

Beasley said last week that he's done with social networking, that he doesn't need it in his life.

Wade has no complaints, however, with either Twitter in general or the Heat policy.

"When you come to work, you come to work," Wade said. "You can tweet before, you can tweet after. It's not addicting like where I'm going to take a bathroom break, go downstairs and tweet. I think people take it a little too far with that. But I think it's very good to have communications with your fans, personally. A lot of people, you can see them in a different light."

Most Heat players who Tweet -- Dorell Wright, Mario Chalmers, Quentin Richardson and Jermaine O'Neal among them -- say they expect to hit the send button less now anyway.

Miami formally opens training camp Tuesday, and two-a-day practices won't leave much time for anything.

"I tweeted so much this summer because it was the summertime," Wright said. "I'd come in here, handle my business and I had the rest of the day to myself to tweet. I enjoy it because I'm able to open up and talk to fans and different people."

O'Neal was leery at first with Twitter. He opened an account, then basically let it sit idle for several weeks before getting the bug.

His Twitter account shows he posted 13 times in about an hour on Sept. 21, then hadn't posted again before Monday.

"In the workplace, it's too much," O'Neal said. "Games, it's ridiculous. Leisure time, that's on you. You should be able to tweet or whatever you want to do when you're home, but bringing it into locker rooms or bringing it into games, that's too much because basically you're not focusing on the task at hand."

O'Neal checks his Twitter often and tries to respond to people -- even the thousands he doesn't know.

"The problem is, you can't respond to everybody," O'Neal said. "And you get cursed out when you don't respond to everybody."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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