The London Olympics are the Twitter Games (Except for the Staff)
The British Olympic Association chief Andy Hunt wants this summers Games to be the very first Twitter Olympics. He told the BBC recently that he wants athletes to use Twitter and other social media to lift the lid on what goes on at the Games and to give supporters unheralded access to the inner workings at the event.
"We want athletes to embrace all aspects of media, including social media," he said.
"Provided people think very carefully about what they say, it is a great way to engage with the British public."
He added: "For some athletes, there will be very clear rules around when they tweet before, during and after competition.
"The International Olympic Committee themselves are really pushing the use of social media and we support that.
"There are going to be some real clear guidelines about what to say and what not to say."
Sadly such requests to use Twitter are limited to athletes only. Staff working at the 2012 Olympics have been told that they should not use social media during their shifts.
The social media policy for staff working at the Games provided detailed instructions on what staff are not allowed to share online. This includes:
- disclosing their location via services such as Facebook or Foursquare
- not getting involved in detailed discussions about the Games
So the organisers of the Games fully expect athletes to share their excitement but staff, most of which will be volunteering their spare time to make the Games possible, are not afforded the same principle.
What a wasted opportunity to engage a large group of people that have clearly signed up due to their passion for the Games and what they represent. The restrictive social media policy prevents those staff from sending a tweet or a Facebook update to their friends saying they're at the 100m final (for instance). Nor can they talk about the Games at a time when the world will be focused on London for a month.
There are plenty that think social media should be banned at work, but surely the Olympic Games are a completely different story, especially when the vast majority of those staffing the event are unpaid volunteers.
What do you think? Should staff working at the games be allowed to use social media to talk about it?