With social media becoming front and center in the digital realm, it is no surprise that the Olympics have become the ultimate social event. Dedicated hashtags, numerous athletes tweeting daily, and results being posted instantly online, various areas of social media have boomed as a direct result of the Olympics.
The opportunity to watch Olympic coverage live on various outlets (TV, YouTube, and the main NBC Olympic website) and the time lapse between event completion and normal television viewing encouraged the trend of online viewing. Once on the sites, individuals were able to share with friends via Google Plus or Facebook, tweet, or comment directly on the video. With this constant information stream, event results have been broadcast to the public faster than ever.
This instant access and social interaction can easily create a nightmare for members of teams and the Olympic Committee. However, as with most individuals that are savvy in the social world, the Olympic Committee provided all athletes with a guideline document for social media. Take a look at what the athletes have to abide by when participating in social media. Everything from appropriate words to use in tweets and comments to branding for the Olympics is included. Below are a few of my favorites:
- ‘Blogs or tweets must be in a first-person, diary-type format and should not be in the role of a journalist – i.e. they must not report on competition or comment on the activities of other participants or accredited persons, or disclose any information which is confidential or private in relation to any other person or organization.’
- ‘Video and/or audio must only be for personal use and must not be uploaded and/or shared to a posting, blog or tweet on any social media platforms, or to a website.’
- ‘Participants and other accredited persons must not use the Olympic Symbol – i.e. the five interlaced rings, which is the property of the IOC – on their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on any websites.’
With such strict guidelines, one would question how well the Olympic committee could enforce it with thousands of athletes and individuals of the press. Enforcement didn’t seem to be a problem as many individuals were turning in each other to ensure no one received the leg up on material. For example, NBC requested that a British Newspaper’s correspondent be suspended from Twitter until after the games due to his action online. Their request was granted and the individual was banned until the games closed (Read more here). Although the games had a few other issues, the guidelines put forth early in the process really limited the overall possibilities for content.
Another popular trend during the Olympics this year was the use of hashtags in post. The most popular hashtags included #London2012, #Olympics2012, and #Olympics. Each hashtag had its own success but the most popular one was #London2012. Below is a chart showing the last 24 hours of use for the hashtag.
As you can see, it generated over 6,225,000 impressions and reached an audience of over 5,979,000 in the past 24 hours. With such a large impact, it is no wonder that social media has been so popular during the Olympics.
As the games came to a close Sunday night, twitter was aflutter with athletes and viewers tweeting their thoughts and sadness that the games were ending. A few example tweets below from a US equestrian team member and the US Olympic Team account:
Many others discussed the variety of musicians that were featured and the overall impact of the performance in our lives. With such a high bar set, I look forward to seeing the Rio Olympics in 2016 but, until then, I leave you with a video from the closing ceremonies and the words of John Lennon, “…I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one; I hope someday you’ll join us; And the world will be as one”.