MS Podcast#152

The youth olympics

(WORLD) The MediaSnackers podcast focusses on individuals, organisations or companies who are simply impressing us and which are crying out for more discussion.

Julian Lim is the Head of New Media for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (the first ever youth olympic games).

0.00—0.40 intro
0.33—1.42 the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and the Cultural Education Programme
1.43—2.19 what role does social media play in the preparations
2.20—5.03 what have they been doing : Facebook fan page, Twitter, YouTube channel, Flickr and WhyOhGee plus the Million Deeds Challenge
5.04—6.07 specific uses of the platforms
6.08—7.33 user generated content from the attendees and participants
7.34—8.08 opportunities vs challenges
8.09—11.29 future and legacy creation
11.30—11.43 outro

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Julian Lim: Well hello DK, my name is Julian Lim and Iím the head of New Media here at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee. So, basically what my role is, is getting the message out there to people on the Internet about the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. I’m also part of the Communications and Public Relations division, which essentially looks at the overall communications strategy, so new media is definitely a part of it.

DK: Great. Well it’s a pleasure to have you with us man. And tell us a little bit then about the Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

Julian Lim: Well, for anyone who hasn’t heard of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, well it’s the first of its kind. Basically, it’s a process where we are co-creating the Games with the International Olympic Committee; the IOC. And it’s really about having young people take part in the 26 Summer Olympic Sports, exactly the same number as the full summer Olympics that you will be having in London in 2012 and the one that we just experienced in Beijing. And one very critical element that’s different from the Youth Olympic Games, is the culture and education program; the CEP. So what happens is beyond just competing, athletes will be given the opportunity to stay from the start, all the way to the end of the games, and experience things like educating them on what careers they could have in sport, why their environment is so important to us, and things like that.

DK: That sounds brilliant. So, tell us how because you got the new media role there to play. How is new media and social media playing a role in your preparations for the forthcoming games?

Julian Lim: As you well know it’s one thing to have your own website, but everybody else is having a party on Facebook, uploading their pictures on Flickr, and watching videos on YouTube. So, new media is really important to us because we don’t just expect to attract people to one website, we’ve got to go to where the party is and share the message with them there. So that’s why it’s really important for us especially with young people.

DK: So what have you been doing then?

Julian Lim: We’ve been really, really busy. First off, we kicked off with an official site of our own, which is basically — it’s WWW.SINGAPORE2010.SG. Then we started going into social media. We went into Facebook; we’ve got a Facebook fan page. We’ve got a Twitter account on TWITTER.COM/SINGAPORE2010. What else do we have? We have — let’s see, of course, our YouTube and Flickr channels. On YouTube we’ve got something like, in the range of 200+ videos now. On Flickr we’ve got in the range of — I don’t know 6,000+ pictures last count. And we also have this very interesting thing called the YOG Community. Where basically what we do is we encourage people to sign up on this community, and what happens is they get a chance to interact with one another and also integrate their other social media profiles on this community. So basically, if I have a Facebook account, Twitter account, a Blog, a YouTube account, a Flickr account, I could integrate all those things into the YOG Community. And if you want to see what I’m doing you just login there and it gives you a good overview of what I am up to.

We’ve also got this thing called the Million Deeds Challenge, which I find quite interesting because what it does is, it gets people to be part of the Olympic movement, which is something that might seem a bit exotic to somebody who might think that being called the Olympic movement means that you have to be an Olympian who’s training 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; which is not the case because the Olympic movement is really about the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect. And that’s basically something that anyone can do. And you basically don’t have to find a cure for cancer if you did something as simple as helping your kid sister do her homework or — yeah, that’s basically a act of friendship. And you could go onto this website called Million Deeds Challenge; it’s at a WWW.MILLIONDEEDS.SG. What happens there is you share you deed of excellence, friendship, and respect, and what happens is you’ve got this virtual Torch Relay that takes place from Greece all the way through the 203 other National Olympic Committees and finds its way to Singapore. So we’re looking for 1,000,000 deeds and anybody who can help us bring the flame all the way from Greece to Singapore. So a doing simple act of excellence, friendship, and respect, you’ve become a member of the Olympic movement as well as help bring the flame to Singapore.

DK: That sounds great. So tell us a little bit about some of the platforms you’ve had on the go. You said YouTube, flickr, facebook, Twitter. Tell us a little bit just because obviously twitter and facebook are such big things at the moment, how are you using them, separately or intertwined, what are using them for specifically?

Julian Lim: Well on Facebook, what we do is we give people updates on what we’ve been up to, slightly less regularly than on Twitter. On Twitter, we’ve been doing things like updating when we’re at live events, say for most recently at 99 day countdown. We even held a little contest while we were there. On Facebook, it’s pretty much the same just on slightly less frequent scale. We also get a lot of interaction with our fans there, we ask them questions, they — we crowd source basically. So we ask them for their opinions, and they give their opinion and you respond to that, sometimes we even re-tweet content that theyíve been sending out. Yep, so thatís basically how weíve been using Twitter and Facebook.

DK: Okay. And tell me now when the games start and you got a hell of a lot of participants at the games. Are you thinking about how are you going to encourage or enable them to create content or even, not even participants but also attendees and how you’re going to monitor all that?

Julian Lim: Yep, that’s a big challenge and we’re working with the IOC on that. But first off, just remind everybody that the games happen from the 14th to the 26th of August this year. And we’ve got something like, 3,600 athletes will be coming to take part the 26 sports. So in terms of getting people to contribute content, we’re currently working with the International Olympic Committee, the IOC, on guidelines for content creation especially when we’re uploading that to the Internet, or encouraging people to upload that to the Internet.

Because the IOC has also realized that we’ve come to a stage in technology where it’s just so easy to upload something from within a sports venue. And really it’s been the realm of broadcasters to be feeding live video back to viewers who are sitting in front of T.V., but you could so easily do something like that with a site like Quick (phonetic). So, weíre currently working with them on guidelines on how we can encourage people to contribute content, but still stay within the guidelines that govern broadcasting.

DK: I can imagine it’s gonna be quite a challenge, but also great opportunities. Are you viewing it as an opportunity, a led process here?

Julian Lim: Yeah, definitely. There are many of us who see why it’s important to be addressing and keeping everybody excited about the Games through content creation. But of course it’s a process; we donít expect change over night. And this being the first Youth Olympic Games, there are a lot of thing that we are still unsure about, and we are still debating and discussing with the IOC.

DK: I can imagine. Okay, then well tell us a little bit about ñ this is my final question really and this relates to what you’ve got to do yet still to do. Because I know the Games are coming up in less than than 90 days time. I’m sure there’s lots to do until then. Tell us how you are gonna prepare for it at the moment, stuff you haven’t done. And also after the Games, what legacy are you hoping to leave Online with these Games?

Julian Lim: Well in terms of what we have yet to do, during Games time we’re actually encouraging all young people to come forward and join us in creating content. So, we’ve got a couple of teams that will be created as Video Production Teams for us because we have this site called the WHYOHGEE, as in WHY, that’s Y, OH as in O, and GEE as in G. So, even this was something that young people came up with because we’re looking for a name for this micro site that we have. That basically features content about Games that’s a bit targeted towards young people in terms of the angle, in terms of the language used. So we’re asking them what’s a cool name to have. So, one of them came up with WHYOHGEE. The reason behind that is why, as in the questioning; young people like to ask questions. Why this? Why that? Why do I have to be in bed by 10? OH, when you them, oh. When you tell them the reason then they say, ìOh that actually makes some sense.î And GEE is when they reflect upon it and say, ìGee I didn’t think of that.î So within why oh and gee it’s a complete learning process, which is something that we hope they will do when it comes to the website.

So instead of calling in the learning website, which might sound the process a bit more boring, we came up with WHYOHGEE. So we are looking for people to help us populate content on WHYOHGEE. So we’ve got I think about maybe 50+ kids who’s lined up to be creating videos, taking pictures, and even writing stories for WHYOHGEE. So we are looking to train them in the lead up to the Games. Yeah, we’re also looking at making more buzz on all social media platforms. That’s where my colleague Victor comes in. We’ve also got this viral video that came up recently that’s Asafa Powell; one time record holder for the 100 meters men’s event, that I think got something like 300,000 views in two weeks. So that was something that we were pretty happy about, that my colleagues and marketing came up with. So up to the lead up to Games, they’re a couple more things that we are keeping under wraps, we can’t quite share them with you yet, but you will see them. Yeah, I think that’s it. But for legacy purposes were working with IOC to see how we can share what we’ve created from now until Games and beyond. And also for Singapore, it’s really about building a sporting culture for our people. So, now that we’ve gotten everyone really excited about the Games and during Games time when they see the athletes in top form, we’re really hoping that all those people that are on our fan pages and monitoring our Twitter feeds can carry on being excited about sports in general and this whole idea about having a sporting culture.

DK: Brilliant. Well thank you Julian for giving up your time to speak to MediaSnackers, I really appreciate it.

Julian Lim: Well, thanks very much DK for having us.

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