Roll up, get your Olympic Torch Facebook app

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Assuming you can get over China’s appalling treatment of democracy protesters in Tibet, you’re about to get the chance to win two tickets to the Olympics in Beijing this year just by adding a Facebook application. Yay.

The Samsung Virtual Torch Relay app allows users to pass their own torch to other users, hence creating their own little bit of Olympic history. Samsung are one of three sponsors of the Olympic Torch Relay, and is understood to be the only one using social media to promote itself. Once you sign up you can pass the torch on to your contacts, see your own Olympic torch fly around the world and win points in the competition for the tickets. You can also check up on who’s torch is leading among your friends in the Leaderboard.

The real-world Olympic Torch Relay begins on 25th March 2008, and finishes on 4th August 2008. It consists of International legs and legs in China, with a total of 21,780 Torchbearers. I think Facebook can beat that. Since Facebook wasn’t even around the the last Olympics, it’s going to be an interesting ride.

I hear the app was done by London-based Techlightenment, the same guys who did the Bob Dylan FB app.

Oh, and I called my torch “Tibet”. Pass that around.

  • http://nmk.co.uk Ian Delaney

    I don’t get your stance on this, Mike. If ever there was a chance to protest against the Beijing Olympics then not running lame tie-in socnet/olympic stories is pretty much up there…

    Not being controversialist, honest.

  • http://nmk.co.uk Ian Delaney

    PS. I did like the way you handled it, though.

  • http://www.open.typepad.com Antony Mayfield

    Scene: INT. Party Committee Meeting Room, Beijing. Two Communist Party Officials sit around a circular table. They look agitated, drawn. Suddenly one stands and and slams down his papers…

    OFFICIAL ONE: This is insufferable.

    OFFICIAL TWO: It cannot be suffered.

    OFFICIAL ONE: The games are to be the most glorious celebration of China’s place in the world.

    OFFICIAL TWO: Our ascendancy assured, the games were to be a fanfare, a song to our superpower status.

    OFFICIAL ONE: But now this…

    OFFICIAL TWO: Yes. Some blogs may stop running lame tie-in social network / olympic stories. Whhhhhyyyyyyy!!!

    OFFICIAL ONE: Their own human rights record doesn’t look so pretty. Aren’t they occupying a couple of countries right now?

    OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, but… they are hardly likely to boycott reviews of their own Facebook apps…

    OFFICIAL ONE: And then there is Northern Ireland… not so long ago… I’ve seen In The Name of the Father: educational.

    OFFICIAL TWO: Exactly. Nonetheless, hypocrisy aside, let’s begin talks with the Dalai Lama and begin plans to pull out our troops.

    OFFICIAL ONE: Curse this highly effective tokenism. I expect they’ll be selling their iPhones, Macbooks clothes and other goods manufactured in China next and donating the proceeds to the Free Tibet campaign…

    OFFICIAL TWO: Oh, no chance of that…

  • Mike Butcher

    Hmmn. Ok, so either I must not write anything about China. Or I must write about anything to do with China in order to take the opportunity to bring up Tibet. Holy Torturous Scenario Batman!

    But seriously…

    Ian – I take your point. My only defence is that in and of itself the application is interesting.

    Antony – Fantastic script writing! Ok, so yes, a few blogs *not* writing about China is hardly going to get their government taking notice. But I think we’re still going to have to write about the companies, clients and people that decide to engage with the Olympics in this manner. Let history be their judge.

  • Mr P

    All this engagement with China is basically looking the other way while they do whatever they want. The sponsoring companies are interested in ingratiating themselves to the regime in the hope that they can sell more goods.

    Unfortunately companies more or less have to do this because of their shareholders.

    The only way to counter this is for western consumers not to buy their products. So no Samsung LCD TV for me.

    Who should care about stupid medals when the country hosting the games cares nothing about human rights and freedom.

    Oh and if you do care about medals what about the extensive use of enhancement drugs by China’s athletes.

    The olympic ideal has been tarnished for a long time – this is just a new low.

  • http://www.virtuphill.blogspot.com phil_style

    Mr. P, makes a good point. Has anyone thought of producing a list of all sponsoring companies?

    I’m happy to start one over at http://virtuphill.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-flaming-shambles.html if no-one else has already . . .

  • http://www.chinadialogue.net isabel_hilton

    The list of Olympic sponsors is here:

    http://en.beijing2008.cn/90/53/column211995390.shtml

    what it does not tell you is how much they paid for the privilege

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