Olympic Ban on Volunteers and Social Media
JANUARY 16, 2012:
Dan Paup, Business Development Representative
Jason Douglas, Priority's social media strategist, woke up bright and early last week to speak with a Minneapolis-based radio station about the recent news that Olympic organizers have effectively banned social media for volunteers. Hear his take on the ban and my take on how Olympic organizers could have learned a thing or two from healthcare and financial services marketers.
The Olympic Ban
If you missed it, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) have created social media rules (that effectively ban social media) for its 70,000 volunteers. Basically, Jason's take is that there is an obvious security aspect to the ban. That is understandable. These volunteers will be close to athletes and dignitaries. They want to protect information about injuries and locations. They also likely want to retain the element of surprise for the opening and closing ceremonies.
However, Jason joined Tony Fly in wishing the LOCOG good luck policing 70,000 people. Jason went on to explain his thought that LOCOG is basically showing lack of a real strategy. They probably have a fear of the unknown.
The brief call ended with Jason, Eric Perkins and Tony Fly agreeing that it will be hard to police unpaid volunteers - and LOCOG is going to miss an opportunity with some of their biggest enthusiasts.
Listen to Jason's call with K-TWIN's Eric Perkins and Tony Fly:
How Olympic Organizers Could Have Learned from Healthcare and Financial Services Marketers
Social media experts have been saying for years that as marketers, we no longer own the conversation. They are right. Ultimately, I believe volunteers are akin to customers. Really enthusiastic customers. And while we may sometimes wish we could ban people from saying bad things or sharing things we might not like, we cannot control that today.
LOCOG could have learned something by looking at the healthcare and financial services industries. These industries have to deal with extremely sensitive information and social media. Yet, our clients and prospects are no longer running away from social media by banning it for employees and ignoring its potential to engage their audiences.
They are embracing social media by creating rules of engagement that help them deal with unexpected or undesirable social media interactions. Today's healthcare and financial services marketers are helping to guide the conversation in a way that allows their audience to feel engaged - and their C-suite or board to feel at ease.
What's your take? Do you think Olympic organizers should revise their ban? Do you think this has an impact on the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia?
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.