The buzz in Vancouver is that the local social media representatives eager to help cover the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games have been left out in the cold. While I understand that VANOC Media and Press Operations may have some initial trepidation working with a crew of folks that don’t look like traditional media, allow me to offer my endorsement for them and their work.
Several of the folks in question are colleagues of mine, and represent Raincity Studios, the web studio I’m proud to say I co-founded. Kris Krug, Robert Scales and Dave Olson are tireless social media practitioners, trainers, authors and conference organizers. They represent the best of what Canada does when it comes to the ongoing evolution of journalism through technology. They are treated with the respect due to recognized experts outside Canada, it would be a loss for the Vancouver games to overlook great talent in their own backyard. It would be a win to build on what they learned using social media to cover the Beijing 2008 Summer Olypmic Games.
Nor should social media as a force for good and bad PR be overlooked. The news has been filled in the last few years with stories of journalists, politicians and businesses tanked by bloggers and cameraphones. But my colleages are not proposing to build a virtual lynch mob, interfere with the major networks who pay good money for exclusive coverage of the events, or otherwise tarnish the image of our beloved Vancouver.
“We’ll be hosting an independent, international media centre at our Gastown loft office. As part of this, we’ll organize events like photo walks and aggregate fan-made content for the enjoyment of a worldwide audience. We’d like to work with you to do this for mutual benefit…
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.”
My colleagues want to help the mass of people who will arrive to watch and create social media at the games. I would like to see VANOC and the IOC reconsider bringing them to the table, at least so their exclusion doesn’t become a story that detracts from what I expect to be a most successful event.
If I may humbly offer a piece of advice: a little love goes a long way with the social media crowd. You don’t need to give them the VIP treatment, a seat at the big kids table is enough. Recognizing the powerful voice of the people will do wonders for getting them to sing on key.