London Olympics volunteers told not to share on social media

The 70,000-strong army of volunteers who will be helping the London 2012 Olympic Games to run smoothly have been told that they mustn’t mention details of their location, their role or any backstage information about athletes, celebrities or “dignitaries” on social media.

Considering the nature of social media on sites like Twitter and Facebook is to share precisely that information the London Olympics organisers appear to be issuing rather optimistic social media guidelines for volunteers.

The LOCOG guidelines issued to ‘Games Makers’, as the volunteers are known, don’t really seem to fit into the International Olympic Committee’s rather generous claim (opens PDF) to “actively encourage and support athletes and other accredited persons at the Olympic Games to take part in ‘social media’ and to post, blog and tweet their experiences”. Or perhaps the people who are giving up not only their time during the games don’t count as ‘accredited persons’?

In what appear to be very optimistic instructions, volunteers are being

Locog guidelines: the first rule of volunteering...

told they mustn’t disclose their location, break any news about an athlete or post photos or video of areas of the Olympic site that are not visible to the public. Volunteers are, however, welcome to disseminate any official London 2012-sanctioned information to their followers.

Ironically, a LOCOG spokesperson described the guidelines as “practical” in a statement to the BBC – quite how policing all the tweets, Facebook updates, Foursquare check-ins, YouTube uploads and Instagram photos of 70,000 people is practical is not explained – maybe it will become the job of some of the volunteers to do this?

  • http://www.markshaw.biz Mark Shaw

    wow.. what a terrible terrible tragedy.. as usual huge sledge hammer approach to crack a tiny and probably insignificant nut…

    they should designate the official hashtag for the event & then encourage all the tweet using it.. what a amazing legacy that could create.. thousands of people tweeting, engaging, listening, talking, sharing & taking part in the greatest sporting event ever.

    but as usual all spoilt by people that sadly dont and will never get it…

    Mark Shaw
    @markshaw

  • http://www.fastwebmedia.com Briony

    They can tweet but they’re ‘told they mustn’t disclose their location, break any news about an athlete or post photos or video of areas of the Olympic site that are not visible to the public’

    Surely that’s for security purposes? As well as protecting the exclusivity of the event coverage through traditional media, e.g TV? I can understand why they’ve asked this of volunteers but I agree that it’s going to be virtually impossible to monitor the social activity of potentially 70,000 people!
    @brionygunson

  • Mike

    I agree with Mark, what an amazing opportunity to see first hand how social media could bring the Olympics right to your phone but those that are there.

    Instead of saying “no social media”, the LOCOG guidelines should allow some social media activity with a heavy caveat around what can be shared (and any non-compliance swiftly dealt with).

  • Mike

    I agree with Mark, what an amazing opportunity to see first hand how social media could bring the Olympics right to your phone by those that are there.

    Instead of saying “no social media”, the LOCOG guidelines should allow some social media activity with a heavy caveat around what can be shared (and any non-compliance swiftly dealt with).

  • http://seanclark.com Sean Clark

    When are these big organisations going to get over themselves. A missed opportunity to leverage the Social Networks of thousands of volunteers for the good of sport worldwide.

    On one hand they say they actively encourage the use of Social Media on the other there are so many restrictions on what can be said it almost nullifies the point of saying something.

    As Mark suggests they should have produce a strategy that would actively encourage participation for the benefit of all.

  • Adrian Wilkinson

    If they are volunteers then they can do just as they like. The Olympic authorities have no jurisdiction. What will they do sue them for breach of contract. Another good example of ‘big brother’ & why the Olpmpics will be a disaster

  • http://www.cbmeg.co.uk Richard Alvin

    Briony is right and Mark LOCOG are not banned the use of social media, but are asking their volunteers to follow a few guidelines for safety and security and also the comfort and enjoyment of famous visitors.
    We also need to bear in mind that unless you are on O2 you won’t be able to get a mobile phone signal at the main stadium site anyway following the deal that LOCOG have done with them so there won’t be huge volumes of mobile sharing happening anyway.

  • http://www.wix.com/mrobshaw/portfolio Matt Robshaw

    Sean and Mark make great points. The whole purpose of social media is to encourage engagement, and if large organisations are going to take part in it then they need to recognise that it cannot be used to control conversations. Instead, they should make the most of its benefits to further promote the excitement behind the project, and how it is involving ordinary people from across the country.

    As has been suggested, guidelines that allow public engagement without compromising security would be best. After all, guidelines are meant to guide, not censor.

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