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This social media #fail is brought to you by the USA Cricket Association

Submitted by rickeyre on October 16, 2012 - 11:28am

On Saturday, a representative of the United States of America Cricket Association posted to its Facebook page, linking to an article on Cricinfo referring to reports of internal dysfunctionality within the Association.

What followed is one of the most bizarre examples of public relations that I have seen from a sporting administrative body. It encompassed attacks on the professional integrity of its critics, unconventional definitions of journalism, and links to LinkedIn profiles as "evidence". There even appeared to be the implication that New York Police Department approval is required for attendance by accredited journalists at press conferences.

Cricket in the USA needs all the help it can get, but this episode sadly casts disrepute over the organisation responsible for governing the sport in one of its most underperformed frontiers.

I don't usually recommend lengthy Facebook threads (this may be the first time ever) but your reading of this astonishing PR and social media #fail can be found here. Dramatis personae of note are "United States of America Cricket Association" (believed to be executive secretary Kenwyn Williams), and one "Rozay Chardonnay".

(And for further reading, this blog post from digital marketing website Spinweb entitled How to handle negative comments online. I believe the "Association" has failed on eight out of nine points.)

Update 20 October 2012: The Facebook page in the name of "United States of America Cricket Association" has been closed. Reports today that USACA executive secretary Kenwyn Williams has been suspended pending enquiries over his conduct with the Facebook thread. This report for ESPNCricinfo by Peter Della Penna explains further.

As a consequence, the links in this blog post to the USACA Facebook page are now broken. Although the infamous Facebook thread has been deleted, an archived copy of its first two days can be read on Scribd here.

Further update 24 October 2012: I have observed today that my Twitter account @rickeyrecricket has been blocked by @USACRIC, which describes itself as "the official Twitter feed of USA Cricket". I had been a follower of @USACRIC prior to the blockage. This is the first time in more than three years on Twitter that I am aware of being blocked by anyone. I have sought comment from the holder of the @USACRIC Twitter account. Several other critics of the USACA who have taken part in the Facebook discussion have also reported to me that they have been blocked on Twitter by @USACRIC.

Final update 3 November 2012: Cricinfo is reporting that USACA Executive Secretary Kenwyn Williams has been dismissed by the Association and removed as a director of its board following breaches of conduct, focussing mainly on the social media activity described above. To be clear, the Facebook and Twitter accounts operated in the name of the Association by Williams were not official and did not reflect the views of the USACA. Here's a report and analysis of Williams' dismissal by ESPNCricinfo's Martin Williamson.