Our Social Media Advice to Olympic Athletes: Don't Be Stupid

Meredith Darling | @merdar To say social media can get you into trouble is an understatement. That's why here at Social Media Delivered, our motto is "don't be stupid." It really is that simple. While our social media policy and motto is all of three words, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Social Media Blogging and Internet Guidelines is over 1,550 words long--and athletes still don't seem to grasp the concept of what is right and wrong when it comes to social.

Exhibit A: Nick D'Arcy and Kenrick Monk - Australian swimmers

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Early June, news was released about a Facebook photo posted by Nick D'Arcy, an Australian swim team member, of himself and teammate Kenrick Monk showing off their guns. No, not those guns, but shotguns and pistols.

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.

-IOC Social Media Blogging and Internet Guidelines

What constitutes as vulgar or obscene? A quick glance at the Olympic Charter didn't divulge that information, but the Australian Olympic Committee was not happy and forced the image to be removed.

We say again to our athletes, do not put anything up on social media that you would not share with your mother or your grandmother.

-Australia's chef de Mission for the London team (source)

Since this policy is widely practiced among social media professionals, it always shocks me when someone, let alone a public figure, fails to grasp the concept. The duo have been banned from social media in its entirety from July 16 to August 15 and must return home immediately after their events are over.

Exhibit B: Voula Papachristou - Greek triple jumper

With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat home food!


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This tweet was enough for the Hellenic Olympic Committee to give Papachristou the boot. Procter & Gamble echoed the decision of the Committee by severing all ties and association with the athlete. While she was extremely apologetic after the backlash, reports indicate she has since become bitter about the incident.

Exhibit C: Why Exhibits A and B should have known better

  • Michael Phelps and his bong
  • Scotty Lago and his bronze medal
  • Anthony Weiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Ashton Kutcher, Charlie Sheen (not athletes, but still..)

Stay tuned for more on the Social Olympics! Until then:

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