Society 2.0: The Social Olympics

by Laura

London 2012 is gearing up to be the first social media Olympics.

By Sean Makulowich

Photo by Mike Comer, Proswim Visuals

Four Years ago at the Beijing Games, there were 100 million people on Facebook and 6 million users on Twitter. Today, there are 900 million on Facebook and 600 million on Twitter. Social media has become so incredibly prevalent and embedded in our daily routine that most of us check our Facebook or Twitter feed more often than we check the time or the weather. Chances are, if you’re standing still or waiting for something, whether it’s a latte at Starbucks or the elevator in your high-rise, you’re probably on your mobile phone liking a friend’s status or updating your profile pic.

For the first time, this year at the London 2012 Games, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) will be strongly encouraging Olympic athletes to use social media to engage the public. With over 2,014 verified “Olympic Tweeters,” fans will now have access to and interaction with their favorite Olympians like never before. Granted, no Badminton players will be live-tweeting the score of their match (yes, Badminton is an Olympic sport), but it may be one of the few Olympic sports in which you could get away with it.

Although the IOC welcomes the use of social media and the sharing of experiences by athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games, it has instituted strict guidelines on what athletes can and cannot post on these social networks. To view the “IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games,” click here.

The IOC has become so enamored with the idea of Olympic social media marketing that they have created complex websites, apps and forums that make it even easier to find, interact with and track the activity of your favorite athletes. One of the most expansive examples is The Olympic Athletes’ Hub where you can earn rewards by following your favorite athletes and participating in the community. Another such site is the Official Olympic Facebook Page where you can connect with all your favorite athletes, teams and sporting events.

Recent Olympic Tweets:

Michael Phelps is a swimmer on Team USA. He has won a total of 16 Olympic medals; 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Games and 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, where he also broke seven world records.

@MichaelPhelps Maybe they will tell us that…RT @viobregon: @MichaelPhelps watch out now! U might get in trouble! Next they’ll tell u can’t tweet! Lol =)

Usain Bolt is a runner on Team Jamaica. He won 3 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games in the 100m dash. In one of Bolt’s 100m sprints, he was so far ahead of the other runners, that he even had time to wave to the crowd yet still managed to break the world record!

@UsainBolt Rough day at the office

Hope Solo was the soccer goalkeeper on Team USA for the 2008 Beijing Games, in which the U.S. women’s team won the gold medal by defeating Brazil 1–0 in overtime, in large part due to Solo’s performance as she stopped a barrage of powerful Brazilian attacks, making save after save.

@HopeSolo “@bertiedav: @hopesolo pretty chipper despite the weather yesterday” how can i not be chipper! We at the olympics! :)#fb

Pau Gasol is a basketball player on the Los Angeles Lakers and will be representing Team Spain in the 2012 London Games. In the 2008 Beijing Games, he helped Team Spain take home the silver medal. The Spanish Olympic committee says that Pau Gasol will replace Rafael Nadal as the country’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Games.

@PauGasol All my support to my friend @RafaelNadal in this tough moment as an athlete. All our athletes will compete in London with his spirit!

Team USA Olympic athletes have won a total of 2,298 medals at the Summer Olympic Games. The United States has won more gold and overall medals than any other country in the Summer Games and overall.

@USOlympic Interested in what #TeamUSA athletes are saying? – follow this Twitter list of athletes who will rep #USA #London2012

How will you use social media to engage with and follow the 2012 Olympics? Let us know in the comments.

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