The torch is here, the venues are ready and the athletes are making their final preparations.
London is bracing itself for the biggest event in living memory.
Throughout the long lead up to the London Olympics, the word ‘legacy’ has been used repeatedly. It’s commonly assumed that it will be the physical venues and infrastructure which will create that lasting impression. Although London will benefit from these facilities for many years, I see London 2012’s most powerful legacy taking a very different form.
The First ‘Social Media’ Olympics
In 2008 the social web was in its infancy. Very few people were using Facebook and even fewer were on Twitter. In the summer of 2012 Twitter has over 140 million users and there are a whole range of applications and digital platforms which encourage mass interaction and engagement.
It has been great to see organisers embrace the social web during the preparations for The Games. The Olympic committee have even launched a designated microsite which they hope will act as a hub for all social interactions during the games:
As well as providing a designated platform for ‘Olympic’ content, the Olympic committee have also helped empower some of the most popular social platforms to maximise engagement during the games. The best example is the way foursquare have enabled people to check in to past and present Olympic venues using their location based platform – something the IOC openly encourages:
— Olympics (@Olympics) May 22, 2012
The 2012 Games will be more interactive than any sporting event in history. Whether you’re an athlete, spectator, in London or on the other side of the world, the social web will bring everyone together.
Personalised, Interactive Coverage
As well as giving us the opportunity for mass participation, social media also offers some amazing monitoring opportunities. By using tools like HootSuite, those wanting to follow the games will be able to get up to the second updates across a wide range of platforms. By monitoring individual sports, venues, hashtags or athletes, people from across the world can create their own personal media stream.
If you want to really feel like you are at the games you could also make use of HootSuite’s geocodes. Why not monitor what’s going on in London to make you feel like you are actually there? Or, to get focused updates on a particular sport, why not set a perimeter around a particular event or venue?
Done in the right way, social media offers the most up to date, interactive and personalised channel for keeping up with The Games.
Our Digital Legacy
Though the physical legacy created by the state-of-the-art sporting facilities will undoubtedly benefit generations to come, the digital legacy that these games will create will be felt far more widely.
The digital content that’ll be created during the London Games will leave an indelible digital imprint. The viral nature of the social web also means that photos, videos and observations shared by those lucky enough to be at The Games will allow people to virally experience the buzz of London 2012 without being there in person. This will give people across the world a far deeper insight into what it’s like to be at the Olympics and greatly increase its capacity to bring people together.
It’s a legacy which will be created and enjoyed right across the world.
London is in the enviable position of being able to set a precedent for future Olympics. There’s no question about it, the social web is here to stay. How it is used in future Olympics will be dictated by the example set by London in the summer of 2012.
We all have an opportunity, and responsibility, to get involved. Let’s create a digital legacy which can be enjoyed across the world for generations to come.
Don’t just sit back and watch. Get involved!
Got tickets to the Games? How will you get involved?