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Australian Olympians to embrace social media for London 2012

The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games may still be 157 days away, but there has already been significant discussion regarding the use of social media during the sporting event.

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) published its set of social media guidelines at the start of February, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) members have this week warned the national team to remain vigilant when it comes to online communication.

The IOC is actively encouraging those participating to use social media to post, blog and tweet their experiences with only a few guidelines – no third party promotions, no use of the Olympic five-ring symbol and show consideration to others.

AOC chef de mission Nick Green has taken a similar approach, promoting the use of social media, while at the same time warning Australian athletes to be sensible.

"I personally don't want to spend my time answering to every single athlete's Facebook or tweet or comment around various things," Mr Green told reporters at an AOC meeting in Sydney (February 18).

"What's important is we allow the athletes to do it. It's a wonderful communication medium and we want the athletes to tweet or Facebook responsibly."

While approximately 700 athletes, officials and support staff will be representing Australia at this year's Olympics, AOC media chief Mike Tancred has warned that the performance of the athletes could be derailed by the "black stallion" that is the internet.

"The old days of keeping things hush-hush are well and truly over," he also told the AOC meeting.

"Four or five seconds after something does happen in the village, someone is going to tweet it and someone will make a photo of it."

Australian athletes will be allowed to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; however they will be banned from uploading footage filmed inside Olympic venues – including the Olympic village.

Posted by Elise Ferrari