Experiencing the Olympics, One Tweet at a Time

2012 London Olympics = Social Media Games = Tweety12 Olympics?
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Twitter has grown from approximately 6 to 150 million users and Facebook from 100 to 900 million. This week alone, there have already been more tweets about the 2012 Olympics, than during the entire 2008 Games. As the athletes start to arrive in London—the buzz begins!
Michael Phelps Twitter
Just like Phelps, many other Olympic athletes will be tweeting while competing in the 2012 London Games. So far, the fans have loved having this inside access to the thoughts of athletes they admire and idolize.

It’s All Fun and Games Until…

As much as the viewers at home enjoy the Tweeting, Facebooking and Instragraming ‘inside the games’—all that time spent updating one’s social media could end up hurting an athlete’s performance, and even jeopardize their shot at winning a medal.
“OMG @Olympics, so excited! will be tweeting! Hard to focus on training!#goteamusa”
Ok, this might not be a real tweet but you get the point. DISTRACTIONS!
Professional athletes are challenged with distractions everyday, and social media is no exception. Sebastian Coe, former athlete and Chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, expressed his concern over the social media hype. He believes there is a very close relationship between the number of tweets during competition and the level of under-performance. The desire to be connected with family, friends and fans could easily sidetrack athletes from focusing on what they are there to do.

The Olympic Rules of Social Media

In order to protect the reputation of the Olympics and its athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released guidelines for participants’ use of social media. Here are a few important guidelines:

  1. No video or audio posted from within any Olympic venue
  2. Posts, blogs and tweets must all be written in the first-person in a diary format
  3. Any individual that appears in the photo must approve of the post or blog

These guidelines are fair, but there’s only so much they can do to protect an individual’s public perception. For example, the games haven’t even begun and U.S. Olympic hurdler, Kerron Clement, has already been dubbed a complainer!
Kerron Clement Negative Tweets

Fun for the Fans!

So, what do the Olympic-obsessed viewers have to look forward to? Athletes might have to be careful about what they tweet and focus on training, but the fans have no limits on their crazy-level of involvement!

How You Can Stay Connected During the Games

1. The Olympics Athletes’ Hub

This hub gives fans the opportunity to easily follow their favorite athletes and truly become a part of the excitement surrounding the 2012 Olympics. Check it out at hub.olympic.org
2. NBC Olympics

NBC has a huge opportunity to use social media platforms to enhance and engage viewers. NBC Olympics homepage features the top trending Olympic sports, ways to connect through Facebook and the most popular Olympic video clips. Check out the NBC Olympics Twitter Tracker to keep up with the hottest news!
3. Olympic Twitter Handles

There are also several twitter handles that are completely dedicated to the Olympic games. Here are a few!
@London2012, @Olympics, @USOlympics, @nbcolympics

Unlike any past Olympics, fans have the opportunity to share, connect, discover, engage and truly experience London 2012. So, get involved and let the games begin!

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