Can a social media strategy be too successful? The plan was that the London Olympics (#London2012) were to be opened up and made more accessible via a number of social media channels. The public was encouraged to interact and comment. On the first sporting Sunday of the games, the amount of Twitter traffic began to interfere with mobile networks – and even caused problems for the BBC’s coverage of the road cycling event.
Following concerns caused by highly visible empty seats, a new Twitter hashtag had emerged in the first 48 hours. #filltheseats was used by Olympic attendees photographing empty seats at the venues as well as a way to collect creative ideas for how the seats could be filled.
Twitter was in the Olympic headlines again when the 18 year old Tom Daley received some hateful tweets (or, as a British tabloid alliteratively described the incident, ‘Tom twitter troll torment’) after he had failed to win a medal for Great Britain. The offender was named, shamed and later arrested – an act which in itself caused some consternation on Twitter and elsewhere.
Of course, the appearance of Tim Berners-Lee, live tweeting from the Olympic opening ceremony, was a great (if apparently confusing for some) thumbs up for the great British inventor of the www and a whole segment of Danny Boyle’s eccentric vision was devoted to the power of social media to bring people together. Hooray!
While there has been some debate of the US coverage of the Olympics (#NBCFail), the BBC has been busy, providing additional digital channels for each live event, and creating a website that uses semantic technologies to manage a huge amount of information, including a webpage for every single competing athlete. Marydee Ojala describes their efforts here.
Tony Hirst, via his OUseful.info blog, lists some interesting Olympic data coverage. The 10,000 words blog lists five interesting Olympic news projects from around the world including the rather wonderfully simple Guardian newspaper’s wasanolympicrecordsettoday.com.
For a much more informed response to the social Olympics than mine, Euan Semple has written this on his blog.
Meanwhile, for anyone looking for a ‘typically British’ online Olympic experience, www.londonunderdogs.com celebrates the British love of the underdog by providing helpful tips for identifying and supporting those least likely to win a medal. The website provides posters to print and carry to Olympic events, including the faint praise of ‘Well, at least you’re better than me’. (Spotted by Sara Batts – thank you!).
Finally, if you are inspired by watching or listening to the Games, you might be interested in the BBC’s ‘athlete body match’ webpage.
Apparently I am body-matched with a (male) Jordanian marathon runner.