London 2012: The Socialympics


Social media is going to be put to the ultimate test with this summer’s Olympic Games. With Twitter and Facebook growing on a daily basis, you might as well call it the “Socialympics.” For the last Summer Olympics, in 2008, Twitter had 6 million followers and Facebook had 100 million users. Going into the Summer Olympics of 2012, that number has jumped to 140 million users on Twitter and 900 million on Facebook.  So what exactly does this mean? The increasing interest means that this year’s Olympics could be the most tweeted and “liked” topic of all time.

Considering that sports events are one of the most discussed topics on Twitter, this year’s Olympics are going to blow up feeds worldwide. Not only have social media websites gained immense popularity over the past four years, it has become easier to access these sites. We now have smartphones, tablets and high-tech laptops that make it easy to have these services at the tips of our fingers - real time. 

According to an Associated Press story by David Stringerstephen Wilson, “Hash tags, (at) signs and "like" symbols will be as prevalent as national flags, Olympic pins and medal ceremonies. Some athletes may spend more time on Twitter and Facebook than the playing field.” 

So it’s not just fans that are talking. It’s the athletes too. The IOC is said to be hosting live chats with athletes, which allows fans to interact and ask questions. 

"We encourage the use of social media. We encourage athletes to engage and to connect," said Alex Hout, the International Olympic Committee’s head of social media. "There are some rules to follow, there's no question about it. But we don't police the fans, we don't police the athletes. We don't do that. What we do is we engage.”

Facebook just launched an Olympics page that allows groups teams, sports, athletes and broadcasters to mix and mingle in one area. For me, I really can’t wait for the Olympics. Honestly, I think half of the fun lies in the discussion that I have via Twitter and Facebook. It’s like being a part of a network where you can get more information than what you see on television. 

Consider how Twitter has exploded over the past few weeks regarding the NBA Championships. It was interesting to see what the anti-Lebron James fans were saying and what everyone’s predictions were.  It’ll be pushed on to a completely different level with the Olympics because this isn’t just limited to the interests of Americans... this includes the entire world. This will mean that tweets and posts are going to be in different dialects and completely live. 

It will be interesting to see what records social media will be breaking this year. Not to mention thinking about where social media will be the next time the Olympics come around.