Quantcast

London Games to be first social media Olympics

By Stephen Wilson

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 19 2012 1:18 p.m. MDT

"There is no problem with photo sharing," Hout said. "We encourage it. But monetizing is not allowed."

"People are allowed to film. They're allowed to do that on their phones," he said. "The thing that we ask is that content is not uploaded to public sites."

The reason is to protect the exclusivity of the broadcasters who shell out big money for the rights. NBC, for example, paid more than $1 billion for the U.S. rights to the London Games.

"We encourage the use of social media. We encourage athletes to engage and to connect," Hout said. "There are some rules to follow, there's no question about it. But we don't police the fans, we don't police the athletes. We don't do that. What we do is we engage."

Facebook launched an Olympic page on Monday that groups teams, sports, athletes, broadcasters and in one place. The site has pages dedicated to specific Olympic sports and links to Facebook sites for 60 national teams and 200 athletes, including Michael Phelps, LeBron James and David Beckham.

LOCOG also plans to announce new Olympic tie-ups with Twitter and Google.

But London Olympic organizers have drawn up strict rules for their employees and the 70,000 Olympic volunteers. They have been told not to share their location, any images of scenes in areas that are off limits to the public, or details about athletes, celebrities or dignitaries who they find themselves in contact with.

"We are not stopping people from using social sites," Brock-Doyle said. "We say there are lots of things about your job — procedures, places you'll be and do — that remain confidential. There are elements of your job you can't share with wider groups of people."

Athletes, too, will need to navigate the social media world carefully.

Australian swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk have already been punished after posting photos of themselves on Facebook in which they cradled pump-action shotguns and a pistol in a U.S. gun shop.

The Australian Olympic Committee ordered them to remove the photos immediately. The swimmers have been banned from using social media for a month starting July 15 and will be sent home the day the Olympic swimming program finishes.

The British Olympic Association has offered advice to its own athletes, suggesting that "a few smiley faces and LOL's (online speak for laugh out loud) will make you seem more approachable and encourage more people to talk and ask you questions." What not to do: "Don't get into disputes with your audience."

British swimmer Rebecca Adlington, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a leading medal contender in London, has spoken out about abuse she has received about her physical appearance from some users on social media sites. She has already blocked the worst offenders from being able to contact her, but insists she won't stop using Twitter, where she trades dozens of messages a day with more than 50,000 followers.

"I'm insecure about the way I look and people's comments do hurt me," Adlington said in a message posted on Twitter.

While some athletes prefer to tune out from social media to concentrate on their competition, others embrace the opportunity to interact with their fans.

"Letting people know what I'm eating, how I'm sleeping, what the venues are like — people want to know what we're going through," U.S. gymnast Jonathan Horton said. "They want to know what it's like going through the experience and what we're up to."

All in 140 characters.

Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap Follow David Stringer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/david_stringer AP Sports Writer Nancy Armour in Chicago contributed.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS