Feb 11, 2009

Olympic president recruits Gen Y evangelists

Jacques Rogge is the 66 year-old president of the International Olympic Committee, firmly rooted in the Baby Boomer population you might think.  But not too rooted to try a spot of interaction with Social Media.  The Belgian, talking to the Times Olympic Correspondant, gave no apology for not having a Facebook profile himself.

However, rather than risk the ignominy of “poking” Generation Y and not being poked back, Rogge is enlisting the 3,500 teenaged athletes competing at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 to spread the Olympic gospel for him. By asking each competitor to link a personal blog to Facebook, MySpace and other online networking communities, he hopes to reach the millions of under-18s more likely to play Grand Theft Auto than hockey.

The president even said that he wanted to hire more baggy panted, pink haired gen Y to work in his Geneva headquarters.  The basic premise here though is that you use your own to reach your own.  If you want to attract the attention of generation Y and even Z then... well, they are online, so the best and most transparent way to reach them is through the mediums and channels they are already using. 

However, it wasn’t all optimism from the IOC president, saying: “Kids are attracted to visual, interactive forms of communication. It's not going to be easy for sport to counter that… You won't hear me saying sport is not fun - it is. But it requires austerity and discipline. The answer is achievement. You will never achieve in a video game. It is not really success.”  I’m not sure that is necessarily a view supported by the audience he’s trying to attract. 

Other examples of where organisations are starting to use online technologies to recruit and attract the next generation of supporters, or employees include political party communities (e.g. Conservatives), and corporate employers (Electronic Arts).

It seems this works as a recent post on the Electronic Arts Facebook wall read:

Mohammed Elnaiem (Saudi Arabia):

“do u employ people with game design degrees from singapore/malaysia and if u do can u recommend any universities because i want to become a games designer :)”

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