Tomorrow the 30th Olympiad begins in London. These are the ‘triple X’ games. They could also be called Olympics 2.0 given the enhanced use of social media by everyone and for everything. This year social media is more prevalent and powerful than every.
Four years ago, at the Beijing games, Facebook was just about a year old, Twitter was two years a way from going live and Tim O’ Reilly was just about to use the term Web 2.0. So for all practical purposes there was no heavy use of social media in summer Olympic games. These are the social games and you can already see the impact of social media on everyone’s Olympic experience.
Athletes are more expressive than ever, sharing the good, the bad, their strengths and challenges with the public. Their ability to send tweets lets us know what is on the athlete’s mind. In the case of a Greek Olympian, her thoughts cost her a place on the team. Their photos let everyone see what goes on behind the scenes, for example ice bathing or living in the Olympic village.
Social media enables us to get close to the athletes as real people in the moment. Closer than any biographic produced by TV ever could. So you may want to pick an athlete and follow them during the event. I did a quick run down the U.S. Olympic team roster and just about every member had a Facebook page and most are tweeting at the event.
One of the pages I stumbled across was Mary Killman. She is a member of the U.S. Synchronize Duet swim team –from McKinney Texas. She says that she will be posting everyday on her Facebook page giving her fans and anyone the opportunity to see part of the Olympic experience. Another is Kendrick Farris the 85 kg weightlifter that I cam across and I will try to follow and keep up with.
I picked their pages more or less at random by going down the Roster for the U.S. Olympic team. Follow that link and consider following an Olympian to get a better feel for what it might be like.
These are the first social Olympic games, the first that enable you to cut through the official media, broadcasts, pre-packaged news and get closer to the athletes, their experiences, and the reality of the games in a way that has never been possible before.
Best of Luck for all the athletes and London 201
Let the Games Begin!