2012 London Olympics has Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines

If you are not headed to the London 2012 Olympic Games and are would like to hear directly from the athletes rather that watch hours of canned filler from the networks the International Olympic Committee is way ahead of you.

It has published a set of guidelines that it wants followed for the use of social media but the nice thing about the guidelines is that the Olympics also specifically says that it actively encourages athletes and other accredited persons to take part in using social media to post, blog and tweet their experiences.

The rules appear to make a good deal of sense and follow a few basic lines of reasoning. Show consideration to others, don’t sell what you are relaying or push other third party products (that is our job) and don’t pretend you are a reporter if you are not accredited.

An interesting rule is no using the Olympic symbol of five interlaced rings. You can use the word Olympics, that is a relief, but not when where it would be associated with third party products. You may also not use the word “Olympic” or “Olympics” it in a domain name, unless previously approved by the IOC in advance. The IOC does encourage people to link their blogs and other platforms with the Olympics Movement’s official site or to the official London Games site.

They ask that they be in first person, diary type entries and not as a journalist. They ask that there be no obscenities or vulgarities. Do not promote brands, products or services Photos and images from the residential area of the Olympic Village are allowed but you need the permission of the person or persons in the image prior to posting. Shoot, no walk of shame photos!

You can post photos but cannot commercialize or sell them. Any audio/video in an Olympic venue is prohibited from being posted. Registered media may use the social platforms for real reporting and may publish photos.

The impact of blogging, tweeters and others has been changing sports for some time, but some major sports have been very reluctant to embrace the technologies, and probably just as much the people. Professional journalists, and it seems to me particularly those in the sports field, tend to refer to bloggers in a derogatory manner.

To see how fear things have come in just a short while just look at a few years ago. In 2010 Major League Baseball prohibited the MLB.com writers from writing about anything non-baseball related and basically asked players not to tweet. I guess they did not want fans to more closely relate to the players and the people that write about them. Most major US sports prohibit tweeting for a period before and after a game, which can make sense, but some teams prohibit it a great deal longer. In college sports some teams ban it altogether.

I think this is a great move and may force broadcasters, at least in the US, to show more sports and less talking heads. I have watched less and less of the Olympics over the years because I was forced to watch hours of ‘up close and personals’ about athletes in order to get to watch an event.

Times have always been dodgy about exactly when an event will be broadcast in order to lure a viewer in. Tape delays just do not cut it when I know the results. Now a smart broadcaster can not only show an event but put the twitter feed up from the participates directly after an event.

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