The olympic spirit

The olympic games communications team have rightly been being criticised for imposing constraints on the use of social media by volunteers for the duration of the games. This is naïve on so many levels.

It is a missed opportunity. Allowing volunteers to be part of communication about the event could have generated so much genuine involvement and enthusiasm. Any official use of the tools is likely to be stilted and ineffective in comparison. Trying to control use of the social web in this way in this day and age is impractical. It makes the organisers look stupid.

They are not alone. Most people running our institutions don’t understand what is happening and don’t know what to do about it. They pay agencies to do it for them and the agencies themselves don’t understand what is going on, or find it challenging and try to retain their own form of control.

It doesn’t have to be this way. This is not rocket science.

9 thoughts on “The olympic spirit”

  1. The irony is that someone (if not several hundred people) will tweet something off message, perhaps driven by Basil Fawlty "Don't mention the war" fear of tweeting something off message. A hack will pick it up immediately and the management will be exactly where they are trying to avoid being by issuing this instruction. Fortunately, for them, nobody will be reading said hack's paper any more… except the management? Heigh ho.

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  2. I can understand some of the rules, the reasoning behind some of them. Breaking news about an athlete, VIP visit etc, don't talk about then NOW – but there's no reason why you can't talk about it later, after it's been announced. But rest is not practical…i could see my morning tweets talking about going to work at an major sporting event with boats etc, not exactly hard to guess what I'm talking about. The laternative is not saying anything…and that's not going to happen!

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  3. I know this : tweets of volunteers will be more relevant and informative than tweets of visitors.. visitors tweet about "nice" , "bad" , "whaw", "where is the hotdog stand" so their tweets are often egocentric volunteers involved in and wtih the organisation will be far more centered, because they volunteer and because of their involvement and voluntary contribution. If I were responsable somehow for the events, I really would open some specific twitter like channel for all volunteers, where I would moderate the tweets according to their reelvance: what is for the ongoing organisation of the event, goes to the mangement staff, what is relevant for the visitors is teweeted trough the usual twitter channel (and to the public displays).Sit the idea of not allowing tweets by the volunteers, is a huge mistake in my opinion. But of course, I'm only a HR director.:-). And what is more : allowing their tweets would cost less and wil be less complex, then giving them other communicaiton tools (e.g. radio communcation,..)

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  4. The London Olympics Organising Committee (LOCOG) has employed Chime – aka Bell Pottinger – as its communications agency. I'm sure the company that did so much to protect the name of Trafigura against gossip on social media will do a professional job of to protecting the olympic brand from all the self-styled "enthusiastic volunteers".

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  5. Disappointing. but probably predictable.If you remember the LOCOG reaction to the first ticket debacle it's clear that they consider themselves above such mundane considerations as customer service. To that sort of mindset all media is about broadcast, and the "social" channels just another audience to be given a controlled message.As Rachel says above, an easy thing for them to do would be to allow their volunteers to tweet (etc) a certain amount of time after the event, but that would mean them understanding that they can get a benefit out of something they don't control.

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  6. And that mindset isn't going to change overnight. Though from what Jon Husband was telling me about the Vancouver Winter Olympics others are more open to new ideas.

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