The Olympics don’t get going for another month, but it’s looking like the games may already be headed for a bruising run-in with the Internet. ReadWriteWeb has found the International Olympic Committee’s social media guidelines for participants and boy, this does not sound like a great strategy for pulling off the first “socialympics.”
Blog posts and tweets are deemed “entirely acceptable.” However! They must be in “a first-person, diary-type format and should not be in the role of a journalist.” That mean that they are not allowed to “comment on the activities of other participants or accredited persons.” Isn’t minding other people’s business, like, Twitter’s primary use case?
It also sounds like the Committee may very well frown on fun? The rules continue:
Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.”
Well, that sounds like it’ll be about as entertaining as the back of the Wheaties box. Also, “dignified and in good taste”? Has anyone on the Olympic Committee ever even seen the Internet? It’s where dignity goes to die.
Media folks, don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re not competing in the long jump. You may only use social media for “bona fide reporting purposes.” What does that even mean? No snark allowed? No admiring Instagram snapshots of impressive muscles?
Don’t think you participants can sneak anything past the IOC, either, because they are watching you, pal: “The IOC will continue to monitor Olympic on-line content to ensure that the integrity of rights-holding broadcasters and sponsor rights as well as the Olympic Charter is maintained.”
ReadWriteWeb talked to attorney Brad Shear about the rules, who pointed out that the IOC might want to read up on the Streisand Effect. “Once you start removing content, people try to find it,” he told the site.
This isn’t even the first Internet incident for the games. Just last week, the US Olympic Committee inspired a bit of mockery for issuing the online knitting community Ravelry a takedown notice for its Ravelympics, claiming that they “denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.” Yeah, that didn’t go over so well. It’s bad when the knitters are making fun of you.