In just a few days, more than 10,000 top-tier athletes representing 205 countries will compete in 26 different sports, and the world will be watching, following and commenting on the action in more ways than one. For the millions among us who have evolved into tweeters, bloggers, likers, pinners, and insta-photographers, social media will play an immense role in “watching” the London 2012 Olympic Games.
With 302 events spanning 17 days, organizers anticipate more tweets, Facebook posts, videos and photos shared from this year’s Games than any other sporting event in history. The question is: Which social media outlet will be the most and, perhaps more importantly, the best utilized throughout the Games?
British Olympic Association Chief Executive Andy Hunt has declared the London 2012 Olympics to be the first “Twitter Games,” and has encouraged athletes to actively participate in all aspects of social media. As a self-identified member of the Twitteratti, I have already begun the search-and-follow procedure for some of my favorite American and international Olympians. Social media allows fans like myself to not only follow, but also comment and participate in the hype surrounding the 2012 Olympics.
Exceeding the traditional media standards like interviews, personal stories and selective coverage, Twitter makes it possible to learn about our favorite sports stars on a more personal level. We can view candid photos and even, if we’re lucky, chat with some of the world’s top athletes. Additionally, social media has made it possible for international followers, once hindered by different time zones and spotty coverage, to keep up with the action no matter the time of day.
Olympians are already on board! American hurdler Kerron Clement, (@KerronClement), tweeted out earlier this week that he had just arrived in Wales and “was loving the city.” In addtion, English swimmer Ross Davenport, (@SwimmerRoss), tweeted a photograph of his team in their Great Britain bathrobes and tagged his teammates.
For its real-time, customizable feed, Twitter gets my vote for the social media network to use during the Olympic Games. I already use Twitter daily as a source for breaking news, because the limit of 140 characters provokes a faster release of information before journalists and reporters have time to draft a full story. With so many simultaneous events packed into the 17-day stretch, Twitter followers will benefit from rapid-fire updates from reporters, athletes and news services.
The London 2012 Olympic Games will kick off Friday, July 27 and run through Sunday, August 12.
How will you use social media to follow the fun?
~ By Erin Hamil