By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Are you feeling the excitement? I mean ARE YOU FEELING OLYMPICS? July is here and in just 25 days, more than 4 billion people are expected to watch the London Olympics (Source: eMarketer). That’s 4 billion people who have access to smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops, Facebook and Twitter. TV will still be the mainstream medium for the 2012 Olympics, but marketing and digital pundits are predicting that the London Games will be the “most digital Olympics” with the explosive growth of social media since the Beijing Games in 2008. According to eMarketer, “at least 1 billion will view events, get updates and check results on digital devices, including PCs, mobile phones and tablets. Billions more will follow and discuss the action on social media.”
In the past four years since the Beijing Games, Facebook has gone from about 100 million active users to about 900 million; Twitter from six million to about 150 million. Many more people also are seeking information via their mobile devices, so they can instantly share something they have seen. Clearly the London Games will be tweeted, tagged, pinned, liked, blogged, hashed and rehashed like no previous Olympics.
“We are at a dawn of a new age of sharing and connecting, and London 2012 will ignite the first conversational Olympic Games, thanks to social media platforms and technology,” Alex Huot, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) head of social media said in an interview to the New York Times.
You also can read an interview Alex Huot, Head of Social Media for the IOC did with The Next Web here. He talks about how the IOC embraced social media to connect with the younger audience.
Twitter will play a huge role in #London2012
If Euro 2012 is any indication of how Twitter is becoming the go-to social channel to get real-time sports commentary and updates, wait till you see the #London2012 (one of the official hashtags) Twitter stream unleash. Twitter reported last night that its users fired off more than 15,000 tweets per second when Spain made its fourth goal in Sunday’s European Championship final, setting a new sports-related record on the social networking site. Twitter also registered a total of 16.5 million tweets worldwide during the match.
Among those who tweeted was Pele, the retired Brazilian star. He congratulated Spain and said he was looking forward to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Twitter is gearing up to face another unprecedented surge of activity by sports fans during #London2012.
Here are the official social channels to stay up to date on all things Olympics:
NBC (the official U.S. broadcaster of the Olympics) is teaming up with YouTube to live-stream the Games. According to NBC, you’ll be able to see every single event live on NBCOlympics.com, which will roughly add up to 3,000 hours of coverage. All of the live-streams will also be available on mobile devices.
Where there is social media activity, there will always be potential risk for brand reputation. Recently the Aussie Olympian swim duo who posed with guns at a California shooting range and posted the photo on Facebook were forced to leave the Olympics after the swimming competition ends and have also been banned from using social media for a month-long period July 16 as part of the punishment stemming from the controversial photograph. Read more here. I commend the IOC for putting together a well thought out Social Media Engagement Guideline for all its athletes. It’s worth a read but good luck tracking who’s posting live video content online, that’s not something you can control with 4 billion people consuming Olympic content around the world across a gazillion devices.
Game on! I am already feeling the Olympic spirit with my Facebook news feed and Twitter stream giving me daily updates to the opening ceremony! What better way to connect with the world’s foremost sports event that brings out the best of best athletes from more than 200 nations, than social media? Join the Olympic community online to get inspired and learn how brand sponsors are effectively leveraging the Olympics with their own digital campaigns (that’s a blog post in the making).
Go Team USA!