The Olympic Games are a marketers dream – the audiences are humongous and there is passion in abundance. In the words of Nelson Mandela (yeah I’m quoting Nelson)… “the Olympics has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does”. The 2008 Beijing Olympics generated a decent amount of buzz in the social media world. There is no doubt that social media will play an even greater role in the London 2012 Olympics experience, game-changing you might say. It will be exciting to observe the first “fully digital” Olympic Games in history.
1. Behind the scenes reporting
Fervent athletes at London 2012 have been given the green light to use their Twitter accounts during the games. There are rules of course – the International Olympic Committee has warned athletes tweeting for commercial purposes or using “vulgar or obscene words or images” (no pissing Paula), and only from the first person. However, athletes are “actively encouraged to take part in social media”, which even includes photos and videos (that’s rich media to you). There is no doubt in my mind that we will hugely benefit from having a direct line of communication to an amazing group of diverse people, all with unique opinions and experiences to share with the world.
2. Yoot engagement
Integrating social media into the heart of London 2012 has the power to bring it to a critical mass audience and increase its popularity – particularly among the younger digital generation (the yoot). Let’s face it – love it or hate it, it will be unavoidable in social media when it all kicks off. Could social media make the greatest difference simply by getting the yoot – first-timers – to engage with the games and their community? A far cry from this year’s riots. Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Roger Black, has said “London 2012 is a great chance to get kids and young athletes involved in technology as they enjoy sport”.
The sharing aspect of social media will make it easier than ever to pass along talk-worthy Olympic content and stories to your friends, family, and the world. Who knows what it will be – highlights, lowlights, spoofs, whatever, but I’m expecting everyone to jump all over this one. Plus BT plans to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in the capital to 500,000 in time for the Games, which will make sharing stuff in real-time even better.
With an Olympics that everyone has been able to see coming for years, organisers and sponsors have had plenty of time to get their social media “ducks in line”. However, if they didn’t already know, that users of social media are anything but ducks; if you try to direct them to think in one way, they’ll go another. And then some. There is no telling what will go right or wrong, but we can be sure as hell that social will be at the heart of it all – fanning the flames and spreading the word. This is the really exciting part, and we don’t even know what it is yet.