The First Social Media Olympics
– According to Twitter, there were 9.66 million tweets about the Olympic opening ceremony.
– Team GB’s tweet (right) congratulating Danny Boyle for his opening ceremony was retweeted more than 44,210 times.
– According to statweestics.com, over 10% of tweets globally on 27 July included the hashtag #London2012.
– The Olympic Games Facebook page has 3.5 million likes whilst Team GB is up to 714,000. Both are gaining thousands of likes each day, as people look to share photos and the latest updates.
These facts prove just how important social media has been to the London 2012 Olympic Games. People love connecting with the athletes and sharing the emotions that come from following the Games from day to day with both friends and strangers. The power of social media, and especially Twitter, is its immediacy with ordinary people sending messages to medal-winning athletes and commenting on events as they happen, alongside journalists and celebrities.
Of course there have been some negative aspects to this boom in social media use.
Spectators using Twitter were blamed for disrupting television coverage of the Olympic cycling road races as electronic updates about timing and positions failed to reach commentators.
And journalist Guy Adams wrote in The Independent about the experience of having his Twitter account temporarily suspended after including the publicly available email address of an NBC executive in tweets criticising the US TV network’s decision to show time-delayed coverage of the opening ceremony.
Then there was the high profile story of one Twitter user being arrested and cautioned by the police after sending a malicious tweet to diver Tom Daley relating to his late father.
In a similar vein, Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith blogged about the “trolls” who’d given her a hard time on Twitter and, after a record-setting Olympic performance last Monday, she told the Daily Mail that she was putting “two fingers” up to the people who’d abused her. “What are you doing with your life?” she said. “I’ve just competed at the Olympics! Have some of that, trolls!”
But overall it looks like the positive side of social media is winning out as people have loved seeing Bradley Wiggins tweeting pictures of his drunken gold-winning celebrations (see picture right) and President Obama congratulating Michael Phelps via Twitter on his record-breaking medal haul.
Who knows whether Facebook and Twitter will still be around in four years time, but one thing’s for sure, social media is definitely here to stay.