As we near the London Summer Olympics, it seems there will very limited insight provided by the army of volunteers (approx. 70,000) via Twitter, Facebook and any other popular social media services.
The edict, handed down from the Organizing Committee, is an antiquated way of doing business. The victims are the fans and supporters, who have grown accustomed to social media providing a behind-the-scenes look at big events.
This, by no way, means athletes will be limited, but let’s be honest, athletes can be fairly generic compared to someone who is part of the event from a different perspective.
Athletes have an image to protect and future endorsements to consider; a volunteer does not and, as a result, can be an amazing source of unfiltered information. The lack of filter can go both ways, but a non-athletes or organizers’ viewpoint seems more enticing.
One of the harsher restrictions is that no volunteer can make public statements about the games without permission. This sounds more like the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but that was more aligned with Beijing’s social media policies. As well, social media has grown a lot in the past four years.
The lack of communication will impact the overall Olympic experience for those outside of the event. We have come to rely on social media to learn, experience, enhance and deliver a voice to everyone.
The rules are understandable from certain standpoints (i.e. protecting the athletes), but there are bigger issues. Out of the 70,000 volunteers, can you imagine how many wonderful stories will not emerge now.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the London Olympics are being overly sensitive, and not putting their millions of fans first?