The 2012 Social Olympics: Ready, Set, GO!
After all the preparation, the training and waiting anxiously for 4 long years, it’s finally Olympic season and the PromoJam team couldn’t be happier!! It’s always fun to watch our favorite athletes compete and strive for those gold medals. But this year’s Olympics seems to be a little different. Watching the Olympics, it seems that social media has become a major driving force in the popularity and the marketing of the games. Fans have been going crazy tweeting, posting comments, and texting all about their favorite Olympians, sporting events, and results.
There have been many trends seen at the London summer games - when it comes to updating friends and family, Twitter cinched the gold, beating out strong contender, Facebook. This was shown when people tweeted about the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony around 10 MILLION TIMES worldwide. The unbelievable reach and connections made online has given this year’s Olympics the wonderfully apt name of the “Social Olympics”.
One of the biggest shocks was that women are actually tweeting about the games more than men. Why you may ask especially when we’re dealing with a topic so close to the heart of men everywhere? Because the Olympics are not just about sports - it’s about the people performing these feats of athleticism, your Ryan Lochte’s (72% of tweets have been about this swimming ingenue!), Michael Phelps and yes, as you guessed, women are tweeting more these Olympics in support of the more genetically blessed set of athletes.
And yet, on the flipside, social media communication can also cause problems and it does not always have a good impact on events as seen when a Swiss soccer player was expelled from the games because of racist comment that he tweeted about his opponents from South Korea. Similarly, a fan was arrested for a mean tweet that he sent out about Tom Daley (British diver).
It is of paramount importance to realize and harness the benefits of social media to boost morale, support and camaraderie across nations and peoples, but there are also consequences to what is said, thereby adding on additional monitoring pressure for the athletes and organizational bodies involved. This brings to fore questions about freedom of speech and accountability for one’s actions. The US Olympic Team for example, has issued strict guidelines for athlete’s use of social media during the summer games.
Social media has also taken flight in terms of its application by marketers, advertisers and the IOC itself. For the opening ceremony, director Danny Boyle crafted an entire segment of the show to the connective powers of social media in the digital internet age.
Here in the US, official broadcaster NBC focused alot on the social aspect of the games with daily hashtag recaps and trending topics shared by social media correspondent, Ryan Seacrest. Advertisers such as Nike and Twitter have taken to TV ads to help bridge the divide between old and new media, of extending the experience of the telecast out of the box tube and into the daily social life. Commercial featuring hashtags tied to the preceding or upcoming sporting events enabled viewers to follow the conversation in real-time and to extend the conversation out of the predetermined telecast.
On the grounds, the iconic London eye was transformed into one large mood-ring. Tweets were filtered, collected and attributed color codes depending on the mood that they were projecting. The colors go from yellow (positive) to purple (negative) and green (neutral). These colors were used to change the color of the London Eye, giving viewers an effective barometer of the social sentiment surrounding the games on a daily basis.
So what have you been following and tweeting about these past few weeks? Is social networking the next piece of the global unification process that is the Olympic spirit? Do you see more pitfalls than benefits? Let us know what you think!