8-8-08 Beijing Olympics: Using New Media With Decorum

My eco-minded ‘one world, one dream’ brother was married on 8-8-88 at 8:08, and though he’s not Chinese, he’s well aware that many people in China believe in the good fortune of number eight, “ba” as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. So Happy 20th Anniversary today Mark & Deb! Here’s to joyous days!

If today’s 8-8-08 at 8:08 history-making opening Olympics ceremony of over 2000 synchronized drummers in a “bird’s nest” of 91,000 celebratory people and 15,000 performers aren’t enough fireworks for ya, I pass.

Pomfret’s China, nailed the media moment when he quipped, “So I caught some of the Olympics opening ceremony on a Ukrainian website. It was pretty amazing. But I would have liked to have watched the whole thing live and not felt like a hacker while I was doing it. Sorry. NBC wasn’t showing it. More important stuff to report. Maybe something on Britney or whatever.”

Ahem. John Pomfret is officially my new favorite Washington Post media find. (by day he edits the Post’s Outlook section, but he’s writing as part of the PostGlobal journalistic collaborative community)

He pithily noted that the ol’ USA is one of the few countries unable to see the opening pageantry and pyrotechnics live, since it’s all time-delayed and controlled by money-grubbing advertising media slates and NBC programming hacks who will no doubt serve up rah-rah TeamUSA tidbits rather than comprehensive coverage of events taking place on the world stage. (my words, not his, but that was the gist)

I really love the fact that he slam-bammed both points that chap my hide regularly in our messaging to youth…consumerism and America-centric myopia. It’s why many kids can’t find the Great Wall with both hands but can tote around an Olympic mascot talking plush doll toy with zero regard for the fact that it was probably…made in China.

Pomfret also talks about the insularity of the USA, versus his experience in China during the 2004 Athens Olympic games, and the 2000 Sydney games too, where Chinese reporters covered “a lot of events, not all of them dominated by China, and all sports, even obscure ones, and NOT just ones Chinese are good at.”

I challenge you to find that in the USA… Most kids become accustomed early on to expect ‘mass spectator’ style coverage of events that ‘sell’ rather than necessarily find the sports, athletes, or human interest stories that interest them, providing kids are even tuning in to the Olympics at all. (see Ypulse re: Harris poll)

Thank gawd for the internet with its compelling visuals (DocStoc beta screenshot at left via slideshow of handy highlights on Sean Percival’s blog).

The web gives us welcome snippets of arcane clips and back-stories that aren’t ‘mainstream media’ or ad rev driven,  not to mention access to all things web 2.0.

That said, everything is SO ‘live’ on the internet that it’ll be ‘duck and cover’ if I want to watch anything in ‘real time’ —This kinda pours peroxide on the flesh wound of a ‘free country’ held hostage by broadcast rights, rev gen opps and network dominance for cherry pickin’ timeslots…Along those lines of broadcast policies…

Perusing the comment section of Pomfret’s China, there were several snips about Matt Lauer and his whole Thanksgiving Day parade host tone, with this one making a solid point about mouthy broadcasters too:

“I was hopeful when there was no talking with the initial drum countdown…but it has slowly become evident that networks cannot, simply cannot refrain from continuous commentary. You can’t even hear the little kids sing without a camera break to Bush chatting it up in the stands and then a bloody commentary about it…geeeeze. Because I can’t figure it out for myself the obvious connection of children to soldier…past to present?…SHUT UP ALREADY. There ought to at least be a version that eliminates the talk….I’m sorry. I should be only too grateful I’m being allowed to see it at all.” –Kimba

And finally, this (anonymous) global citizen speaks volumes about America’s reputation abroad:

“There is something to be said about arrogance – when a large nation (ie America) lectures another nation (ie China) about a whole lot of things, including free flow of information…and yet when an amazing event about peace/unity/sports is shown live to the rest of the world, whichever American company had the broadcast rights deny showing it live to Americans. Lesson: look at yourself in the mirror first before you lecture others.”

Ouch. True words spoken, folks…

Decorum would be a nice start for our country to learn how to behave while the world is watching…even if America is not.

8 Channels for 2008 Beijing Olympics

We all follow various social media/specialized sites, so it only makes sense that we share the best of them.

When you find one, plop it in the comments and we’ll add it, as it will be interesting to watch who’s ‘tweeting/twittering,’ following, finding, uploading/downloading and then some. Then there’s the whole media literacy element and blockage alerts piquing curiosity too.

Teen Lab at Alcatel-Lucent: Tech and the Olympics: What Will We See From China?

The Teen Lab is an innovative primary research program focused on soliciting the end-user experiences of kids and technology from all over the globe. Jennifer Carole reminds in her post that YouTube is going to be streaming video highlights to 77 countries based on a deal with the IOC.

She says, “You can bet there will be a lot of user generated videos as well — there are more than 2,500 posted for this month already! Remember when you search to be specific about location or date posted to get the freshest content.” Here are a few other top picks to get us started with a lucky number of eight…Add your own fun finds…fill us in!

Official Website


Flickr Olympic Photos

Photo Bucket China Photos

Recent YouTube Olympic Videos

Google Blog Search on China Olympics

Podcasts: Radio 5 Live BBC; Beijing Olympics

Mobile phone alerts/NBC Olympics: via e-mail or Txt

That’s eight…keep ’em comin’!

p.s. And as long as lists and numbers are the order of the day…for an uplifting and inspiring list from Discovering Dad, check out: 5 Life Lessons The Olympics Can Help Teach Kids

Related Post on Shaping Youth: Beijing Olympics; Will Youth Tune In, Opt Out or Turn On?

p.p.s. I’ll be in Colorado Springs next week, inspiring my daughter with a full tour of the Olympic Training Center…Best freebie deal around! Can’t wait!

Visual Credits: Number 8 Calligraphy: jlammers.net student blog

AP photo/MSNBC by Amy Sancetta: Yao Ming carries the flag of China flanked by 9-year-old Lin Hao, a survivor of the Wen Chuan earthquake, during the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics.

Olympic Flame: Jeff Gross, Getty Images; Beijing: Flame is lit by former gymnast Li Ning



  1. Starting early for Chicago?

    Facebook Group: Olympics in Chicago 2016/Applicant City


    that’s 9…

  2. Postmark Beijing/Wash.Post:


    “State Media: World Leaders Praise China” Listen to this audio report, in English or in Mandarin, to learn what the Chinese media is taking about today and how that compares to what the foreign press is saying.

    whoa…new link…breaking news:

    “Posted at 4:38 AM ET, 08/ 9/2008
    American Tourist Killed in Beijing

    One American tourist was killed and two more were injured while sightseeing at Beijing’s Drum Tower at mid-day today, China’s official news service Xinhua reported. Chinese authorities have identified the attacker as Tang Yongming, 47, from Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. Xinhua reports that the attacker committed suicide by jumping off the tower after attacking the victims with a wrench. The attack occured around noon local time. We’re heading to the scene.”
    –Ariana Eunjung Cha/Postmark Beijing”

    See what I mean by ‘live reporting’ and knowing before it hits the mainstream press?
    Follow up was posted here today,

    “Update: Here is the Washington Post story by Jill Drew and Ariana Eunjung Cha

    The American victims have been identified as Todd and Barbara Bachman, the parents of former U.S. women’s volleyball player Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman. The Bachmans are from Minnesota. Wiz Bachman, a member of the 2004 Olympic team, is married to Hugh McCutcheon, the coach of the men’s team.

    The women’s team was told of the attack around 5 p.m. Saturday at a team meeting, just five hours before its opening game against Japan. Many of the players who knew Bachman from previous national teams broke into tears.

    Here is the Associated Press report

    Some excerpts follow…

    BEIJING — A knife-wielding Chinese man attacked two relatives of a coach for the U.S. Olympic men’s volleyball team at a tourist site in Beijing, killing one and injuring the other on the first day of the Olympics on Saturday, team officials and state media said.

    The man then committed suicide by throwing himself from the second story of the site, the 13th century Drum Tower just five miles from the main Olympics site.

    The brutal attack shortly after midday was all the more shocking because of the rarity of violent crime against foreigners in tightly controlled China, which has ramped up security measures even more for the Olympics. …

    “They are deeply saddened and shocked,” Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said of the volleyball team.

    The U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement that two family members of a coach for the men’s indoor volleyball team were stabbed at the Drum Tower “during an attack by what local law enforcement authorities have indicated was a lone assailant.”

    One of the family members was killed and the other was seriously injured, it said, without giving details. …

    Seibel said the two Americans who were attacked were not wearing anything that would have identified them as Americans or part of the U.S. team. He could not name the coach.

    “They were not wearing apparel or anything that would have specifically identified them as being members of our delegation” or as Americans, he told the Associated Press.

    He said it is “too early to say” whether the U.S. delegation or athletes will require additional security.

    U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Buangan said it was aware of an incident involving two Americans and was working with Chinese authorities to find out more. He said U.S. officials were in contact with relatives of the two Americans who are in Beijing.

    “Out of respect for the families involved, we can’t say more than that,” Don Q. Washington, another embassy spokesman, told reporters. August 9, 2008; 6:55 AM ET”

    My heart goes out to the families, the VB team, and the people of China…sigh.

  3. Amy,

    Thank you for the mention and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Mobile alerts Per SinglePoint:


  5. Hey, Sean, I recognize your avatar…

    Are you on Andy Carvin’s pbs/stop cyberbullying site? Or RezEd.org? Or ning? Where do I know you from in this “large but small” wacky Web 2.0 world?

    Thanks again for the slideshow link…DocStoc looks promising.

  6. Yes I believe I am, I did some work with parents and understand MySpace when the issue was first breaking out. So probably from Ning, or Twitter, or Facebook. Its so hard to tell these days in this small virtual world 🙂

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