Since I first shared my disappointment about the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ (LOCOG) lacklustre approach to social media on AccountingCPD’s blog, I’ve tracked down the official International Olympic Committe social media guidelines. While encouraging social media and blogging activity by ‘athletes and other accredited persons’, they also place a number of restrictions on what can and can’t be shared. The guidance includes orders to:

  • conform to the ‘Olympic spirit’, be dignified and in good taste
  • refrain from reporting on ‘competition or comment on the activities of other athletes or other accredited persons’
  • not post video or audio of ‘events, competitions or any other activities that occur at Olympic Venues’. Sharing video shot within the Olympic Village is also prohibited.

Like most Team GB athletes, Peter Waterfield (@PeterWaterfield) and Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) are both on Twitter. But will they be allowed to share any information of interest during the Olympic Games?

Combined with the restrictions based on ‘Games Maker’ volunteers use of social media, which discourage most activites aside from retweeting official London 2012 postings, this reinforces my concern that London 2012 will, like Vancouver 2010, be ‘pushing’ agreed messages out, rather than engaging with audiences in any real sense.

On the other hand, at a recent NESTA Hot Topics event about the challenges of digital media for London 2012, Tom Uglow, Creative Director for Google and YouTube Europe talked about putting people first – not the Games, the athletes or the brands, but the users – to create shared experiences. The BBC’s Digital Olympics Editor & Social Media Editor for BBC Sport Lewis Wiltshire also has a more ‘connected’ vision for the Games. At the Social Media, the Olympics and the BBC event at the Design Council, Wiltshire claimed “like no Olympics before, [social media] has connected fans with athletes, athletes with journalists, journalists with fans. There’s a global conversation, which has connected everybody involved in the Olympics to everybody else and that can only be a good thing.”

As Wiltshire’s colleague, the BBC’s Head of 2012 Roger Mosey, pointed out in the same discussion, “you can’t control this” shared experience, “in the end social media breaks down all the traditional barriers”. That’s exactly why LOCOG should be careful about over-restricting athletes and volunteers. Let’s hope they don’t – and that we end up having the most socially connected games ever. After all, if you’re going to host the world’s biggest sporting event, you want to share the experience, right?

Spectators and journalists (both on site and watching via TV) are bound to be sharing news, pics and videos of goals, results and other events during London 2012. But will LOCOG make the most of these social media activities?

Want to know more?

Read my original blog post for AccountingCPD: London2012 is missing a social media trick.

Download a PDF of the IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines for Participants and Other Accredited Persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games or NESTA’s Social Media at Scale report on The Challenge of Digital Media for the 2012 Games.

Watch the Social Media, the Olympics and the BBC event: