SBD/September 25, 2012/Media

Out Of Left Field: MLB Makes Twitter Account Private As Part Of Latest Promo

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The MLB Twitter account picked up an estimated 10,000 new followers
When the official MLB Twitter account last Thursday informed people to "follow @MLB ... while you still can," it was a move "almost unheard of in a social media world," according to Maria Burns Ortiz in a special to ESPN.com. The post "received more than 1,000 retweets." Forty-five minutes after the initial post, "MLB's Twitter account went private." Changing the privacy setting "meant that MLB's tweets were only visible to the current 2.4 million followers." Burns Ortiz: "And just like that, #MLBMembersOnly went viral." What "really had people talking was the ability for followers to be part of something exclusive." The idea for the six-hour "stunt" came to MLB.com Social Media Dir Dave Feldman "about six weeks ago." Feldman said, "I thought, 'What if we just went private?' Why not become exclusive and really reward the fans that follow us and see where that goes?" MLB's aim was "to reward the league's followers and to let fans know that there is always a reason to be following MLB on social media." The move also was "a unique way for the league to create a feeling of community even with millions of users." Feldman said that over the course of the day, "@MLB picked up an estimated 10,000 new followers -- each of whom had to be approved manually by an MLB.com staffer" (ESPN.com, 9/21).
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