The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Rise of smartphones creates headaches for Olympic organizers

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Fans lean over the barriers training the cameras and phones as the peloton races for the finish line stage two of the Amgen Tour of California from San Francisco to Santa Cruz on May 14, 2012 in Santa Cruz, California. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

At the Olympic Games in London next month, athletes and spectators alike will want to chronicle the experience with their smartphones. But the rise of social media is creating concern for the Olympic organizers.

In the four years since the Beijing Olympics, Facebook and Twitter have enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity, and they're worried about anything but official sponsors being advertised at the games.

Social media restrictions at the Olympics include bans on tweets referencing brands they personally endorse. You won't see any athletes Instagram-ing a picture with a Pepsi can, since Coca-Cola is the official sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Spectators will also be barred from uploading videos of events to YouTube. And sorry hashtag abusers, you won't be able to use #London2012 in your own tweets, because Twitter agreed to keep non-sponsors from buying promoted ads with Olympic-related hashtags.

Will the bans be enforceable?

James Kirkham, managing director of Holler, a London-based creative agency doesn't think so. He thinks it's impossible, unless someone's confiscating the phones at the stadiums. Social media at this point is second nature for people.


James Kirkham, managing director of Holler, a London-based creative agency.

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