Thursday, 17 May 2012

London 2012: Get Ready for the First Social Media Olympics!

Two weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee launched The Olympic Athletes’ Hub, to mark the 100-day countdown to the start of the Olympic Games in London. The Athletes Hub is microsite dedicated to aggregating Facebook posts and tweets from the athletes, and the Hub also boasts a gamification component: Users who sign up, follow athletes, and engage in the community have the opportunity to unlock rewards and win prizes.

This year promises to be the first truly social Olympic Games. Television networks are planning to incorporate athletes’ Twitter posts into broadcast spots, and marketers are planning a flood of Facebook marketing tied to the Games.

The IOC’s new social media guidelines lay out dos-and-don’ts for tweeting athletes.
During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, athletes will:
  • Have real-time text chats with fans from inside Olympic Village
  • Share their results and engage with fans
  • Grow their social media followings
  • And much more
The last summer Olympics took place in 2008. Since then, a lot has changed.

Not only are we a little older, but so is social media. For example, Facebook was relatively small in 2008 with ‘only’ 100 million users. This year, Facebook passed the 900 million user milestone. Likewise, Twitter had 6 million users in 2008; today the network is more than 20 times larger, at 140 million users.
Check out this great infographic produced by The IOC, which illustrates how social media has contributed to the changes in the Summer Olympics experience for fans and athletes. It highlights how coverage has evolved since the first modern Games in 1896, and the most popular athletes on Facebook and Twitter.