Despite social media existing before the 2008 Beijing Games, it was not as well established and the impacts of the growth across social networks has seen the 2012 London Games being slated as “the first social media Olympics”
Not forgetting the millions around the globe, London is expecting close to 11 million visitors between July 27th and August 12th and many of them will come equipped with smart phones. Because of this, the London 2012 organisers have taken steps to ensure unprecedented access during the two week event.
The IOC has launched an “Olympic Hub”. Consolidating various social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. This easy to navigate space will see fans getting never before access to their favorite athletes throughout the Games.
With the London 2012 social media wave in full effect, social networks continue to grow at a rapid rate. Currently London 2012 has over 5 million views on YouTube, 650,000 plus Twitter followers, and over 400,000 Facebook likes. Impressive numbers for still being a little over a month out from the Games.
This social media explosion at the Olympics is poised to produce some exceptional content but at what cost?
The recent case of Australian swimmers Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk, and their decision to post a photograph of themselves posing with firearms in a US gun shop few weeks ago illustrated the dangers for athletes.
D’Arcy and Monk were banned from using social media during the Games and furthermore, they will be sent home at the end of the swimming competition in London, meaning they will not be able to attend the Closing Ceremony. The AOC wasted no time in making them an example of what will happen if other Aussie athletes cross the line.
With the London 2012 social media wave in full effect athletes will continue to be swept up in the action as well. While the IOC actively encouraging athletes to maintain a presence on twitter and other social networks they have enforced some strict guidelines.
Athletes are encouraged to post pictures at their leisure but NO videography.Participants and other accredited persons cannot post any video and/or audio of the events, competitions or any other activities, which occur, at Olympic Venues.
Athletes are encouraged to post diary-type entries, but prohibited from posting result related content – i.e. they must not report on competition or comment on the activities of other participants or accredited persons, or disclose any information which is confidential or private in relation to any other person or organisation.
The IOC go on to say that the “accreditations of any organisation or person accredited at the Olympic Games may be withdrawn without notice”.
On top of imposing restrictions on athletes there even stricter rules for fans attending events. The “conditions for ticket holders” which are printed on the back of tickets include: Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes.
Rightly or wrongly, London 2012 is betting big on social. “Access” seems to be the unofficial motto of the games, and the LOCOG and IOC are doing everything imaginable to insure that access is unprecedented throughout the 17 days.