People say stupid things on Twitter. Every day. All day. This is doubly true for athletes, who have had more horrible gaffs and slip-ups than any other high profile figure. This Olympic Games has already seen one competitor pulled from the games fro tweeting something really, really stupid, so it’s not surprising that the people in charge are a little nervous around social media
But let’s face it: those draconian anti-internet rules being put into place for both athletes and regular folks at the games are simply ridiculous and fly in the face of everything the world has become since the last games.
Four years ago, the iPad didn’t exist. Twitter was around, but it wasn’t Twitter yet. We all had Facebook, but it was just starting to become the insane powerhouse that it is today. Four years ago, people were still oohing and aahing over iPhones, but today, your grandmother has one and uploads videos and photos to it every day. The times aren’t a’changing: they’ve changed. For everyone who has moved with the flow and adjusted, there’s someone else who has no idea what to do with this new world order…like the Olympic Committee.
For those who haven’t been following the news this week, here are some of the things not allowed at the Olympic games this year:
3. Too Much Food
4. Wireless 3G Hotspots
The first two are self-explanatory, the third feels like a desperate attempt to get you to buy from the overpriced food stands that’ll be populating the area and the fourth is just plain laughable, mainly because it’s the kind of rule that will be borderline impossible to enforce, especially since most smartphones can provide this service and can be easily hidden from view. This will be annoying enough for the average joe, but I can’t help but think of the journalists and writers who rely on their portable wireless sources to actually do their jobs. Since most of the world will not be in London for the next few weeks, they will be relying on journalists to keep them updated. This will be hard when they won’t be able to log in and, you know, get work done.
Then are the video and photo restrictions. Were you thinking about snapping pics of the athletes to post on Twitter or share with your Facebook friends! Too bad! You can’t! Once again, I have no idea how they plan to enforce this, but them’s the rules! Twitter itself isn’t banned, but athletes, volunteers and attendees are only allowed to treat in “first person, ‘diary style.’” Someone who knows what this means should let me ASAP. These nebulous rules don’t feel designed to create actual restrictions as much as they feel designed to create confusion and encourage people to avoid all social media just in case they may be breaking a rule. For lack of a better phrase, it’s dumb.
But why? Why aren’t the Olympics embracing our newly connected open world? Isn’t that the point of an event like this? To bring people together? Why actively prevent people from being able to share this experience with everyone all over the globe? It’s not only old-fashioned, it’s against the spirits of the game.
We could say all of these stupid rules are the result of a bunch of old fuddie-duddies running the games, but it probably has a lot more to do with NBC’s coverage of the games and whatever was included in their contract. The crackdown on sharing information, photos and videos and the severe restrictions on live streaming suggests that NBC doesn’t want anyone in the stands putting a dent in their broadcast. If you don’t watch it on NBC, you don’t get to see the Olympics at all!
This is probably just another story of a major corporation being short-sighted and trying to hold onto the old ways rather than find a way to work with the future. Maybe we need another four years to get everyone on the same page.