Friday, July 13, 2012

The Friday Focus - 2012 Olympics: Social media friend or foe?

With the London Olympics right around the corner, the Web’s been abuzz with stories about the summer’s main event and perhaps more interestingly, the Olympians themselves. The 2012 Olympics have been deemed the “first social Games,” and we’re interested to see the Internet’s role in the upcoming weeks.  Let’s take a close look at just how helpful this social media frenzy has been/will be for the Olympics proceedings.

The Twitter Trap

For some of the athletes competing in London this summer, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter have become nothing short of a publicity nightmare.  Just ask Australian swimmers Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk, who regrettably uploaded a photo of themselves to Facebook from a California shooting range in which their main props were, of course, guns.  The controversial pic led to the decision that the two men must leave the Games immediately after their competition ends, along with a month-long ban from social media entirely. Bummer.

Gun-toting Aussies

As for three-time Olympic gold medalist (and fellow Aussie) Stephanie Rice, a tweet including a picture of the swimmer in a—get this—swimsuit had plenty talking.  Given, the tweeted bikini was slightly less conservative than her Olympic pool garb, but from the talk on the Web one might not have been surprised to see her banned from Twitter too (she wasn’t).

Rice's edgy bikini

The Inconvenience of TV

On the other hand, social media is opening countless new doors to experiencing the Olympics and interacting with fellow enthusiasts.

For example, for those of you not watching the live television broadcast of the archery competition at 3 a.m., behold the almighty power of the online recap.  A simple search or Facebook/Twitter browse can easily reveal the winners of any late-night or early-morning event you might have missed, not to mention the availability of YouTube videos or other online live streams.

Find out when your favorite events will be broadcast here.

The Verdict

Despite the apparent social media curse on Australian swimmers, it looks like the Web may be the perfect forum for the London Games.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Pinterest are likely to generate more interest in this summer’s Olympics than previously, and even Olympic sponsor P & G (Procter & Gamble) turned to YouTube with their “Raising an Olympian” campaign.  Ultimately, we expect to see plenty of online Olympics commentary and are eager to see how social media reshapes the Games in the years to come.

Until next time,

1 comment:

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