Today’s opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics will more than likely mark one of the most socially-charged events in the history of social media. But, just how much social interaction can we expect?
To put it in perspective, Twitter was just up and running for the Beijing Olympics back in 2008 with a paltry 2 million users. Facebook reported a measly 100 million users. Today, Twitter has surpassed 500 million users and Facebook has over 900 million users worldwide.
Not only have the platforms expanded their bases, but SocialTV has also become a huge phenomenon. Nielsen reports that 42% of smartphone and tablet owners visit a social network while watching TV.
Now, consider that more than 4 billion people are expected to watch the London Olympics on TV. And an additional one billion will be viewing the games on their tablets, smartphones and computers (Social Media Club). Clearly the 2012 Olympics are on target to make Social TV history.
For the 2012 Super Bowl, Bluefin Labs reported that there were 12.2 million social mentions making it the most highest ranking SocialTV sporting event in 2012.
So if the Super Bowl, a one-night-only event watched mostly by Americans, garnered a little over 10 million comments, what will the interaction levels be for a 2-week long, worldwide sporting event?
Even the head of media operations for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Anthony Edgar, has freely admitted that he does not know what to expect in London in terms of social media.
But no matter the level, the IOC is prepared. In an attempt to capitalize on this social media explosion, they have made it super easy for athletes and enthusiasts to connect by creating the Olympic Athlete’s Hub. On this website, you can connect with and follow over 2,000 Olympians. It’s complete with featured athletes, live #askanathlete Q&A sessions, top Olympian tweets, and an amazing search function that allows you to find tweeters by athlete, team, sport, or game.
They’ve also released social media guidelines about what the athletes can and can’t post – a move that has already proved smart as one Olympian has already been ousted from the games for sending a racist tweet.
According to Mark Adams, the IOC’s director of communications, over 100,000 people have already visited the site -
“The additions we are announcing further demonstrate the IOC’s continued efforts to socialize the Olympic Games and create a better, more engaging experience for fans and Olympic athletes around the world.”
This week an “Olympic Challenge” is scheduled to go live on the Athletes’ Hub in which Facebook users who correctly predict the winners of various Olympic events are rewarded with points. To learn more about the Athletes’ Hub, check out this quick video.
The IOC isn’t the only organization preparing itself for an explosion of social media chatter. NBC has partnered with Twitter to create a centralized location for all Olympic-related tweets, which has yet to be released. It has also partnered with Facebook to send viewers to the official Facebook Olympics Hub for exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes photos and videos - Explore London 2012. And, get this, Facebook will NOT be running ads on its Olympic-focused pages. How very sportsmanlike of them.
It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks and as a digital agency, db&r is excited to participate (given there are no more Twitter outages!).
How will you engage with social media during the 2012 olympics?