Thinking About Social Media and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver

There’s been plenty of talk lately about how social media creators will fit in with the 2010 Olympics. Dave Olson wrote an open letter to VANOC Media Relations and Press Operations:

In brief, we’d like to have a conversation about how to allow fans and amateur media makers to document their Olympic experience while keeping out of the way of the IOC IP lawyers…

We are aware of your obligations to media rights holders and are seeking to provide an entirely different sort of coverage than the accredited media provide. We are not looking to cover events per se but are instead interested in covering the cultural stories, athletes’ families’ stories, and stories from fans who saved and traveled from around the world for this experience.

That led to an article in the Vancouver Sun, and a response from a VANOC spokesperson.

This feels like a good place to start. As Dave says, social media types aren’t expecting all-access passes to the gold medal hockey games. He’s right to point out that there’s a big hole to fill in the media coverage for such an event. I was thinking about it, and drew this little Venn diagram:

Olympics and Social Media, 2010

The CTVs and CBCs are going to have the major, breaking news covered. It’s all that green space–that’s where social media creators can live. Through various channels, I’m seeing several ways forward for benefits for both parties. Social media creators get some tools, resources and access to help with their citizen journalism efforts, and VANOC enjoys a whole new layer of news coverage. Such a partnership would also highlight Vancouver’s place as a global for new media, citizen journalism and the like.


  1. I like that word: partnership.

    We really all can get along in a way where everyone benefits. But first, the MSM types have to realize that there is, in fact, a benefit to offering the viewpoints in the large green circle above.

    As I said in the comments on the Sun article, I think the coverage by the likes of the Raincity guys at previous Olympics is a shining example of this. If CTV and the other various “rights holders” agree, Vancouver will be way better off.

  2. The attitude I’ve seen from many local blogstars is one of entitlement.

    “I have a blog, I am media, I matter” seems to be the prevailing attitude.

    Sure, you have a blog and a few people read it, but the hundreds that read a blog compared to the millions that watch tv, and the HUGE number of media requests VANOC will be fielding, you can see why there’s a bit of a web to weave through to find legit requests.

    Yes, there will be much duplication in coverage from each nation when it comes to the big events, and there are many untold stories to tell, but accrediting every tom dick and dot com is not the way to go.

    Toss up some fair use portions of a site with statistics, logos, images etc. but separating wheat from chaff with the large number of requests can get difficult, just look at the influx of “media” at Comdex.

  3. The other way to go, of course, is just to siphon the public RSS feeds from the broadcasters and toss them up at as they’ve been known to do on more than one occasion.

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