The Social Olympics: How Will Social Media Fare In London?

There has been much talk leading up to the Olympics about the social aspect. So much in fact that the London Summer Olympics have been dubbed the Social Olympics. Of course the 2010 Vancuver Olympics saw a good amount of social interaction as well, but this year’s games have stepped the technology and support behind the Olympics social infastructure up a notch.

Apart fom the general Olympic Games website, there are numbers of other Olympic social media channels set up, not to mention the International Olympic Comittee portal that acts as a hub for fans to interact directly with their favorite athletes without getting bogged down in all the other Olympic information that is being thrown around. As one reporter put it, based on the Google+ hangouts with athletes, the Facebook pages, Twitter handles, YouTube channel, Pinterest boards and more, online platforms are not just strategic communications tools, they are now part of the Olympic experience.

The Olympics attract a huge range of an audience based on the international nature of the games, as well as the passionate stories that are attached with the athletes. Therefore, the London Olympics will probably be the biggest social media event we have seen thus far. NBC has made special deals with Facebook, Twitter, and storify to manage the time difference as well as all the inevitable social sharing. The network will also be streaming the events live, as opped to the usual time delay given to the games.

The ablitiy to interact with Olympians is a huge draw for many social media users who will be participating dring the games. For that reason , the IOC has developed guidelines for how the athletes are to use social media. Photos may be posted of the events for personal use, but all video and audio are prohibited.

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As for the nature of social media sharing, the guidelines state that tweets and blogs must be in first person diary-type langugae, “they must not report on competition or comment on the activities of other participants or accredited persons, or disclose any information which is confidential or private in relation to any other person or organisation. A tweet is regarded in this respect as a short blog and the same guidelines are in effect, again, in first-person, diary-type format. Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.”

During regular sports season, we have seen social media get the best of many athletes who have been fined or further penalized for their social media actions during a game or in general. As for the Olympics’ guidelines, the Greek team has already expelled triple jumper Voula Papachristou for a tweet that was found offensive and racist, although she claimed it was only a joke.

Going into the Olympics, there has been a huge amount of speculation regarding just how prevelant social media will be in the games. Some critics are concerned the social media aspect will take away from the integrity of the games and may be overly pushed onto viewers. Only time will tell if that is the case, but based on the international audience that will be watching social media has the ability enhance the Olympic spirit.

In keeping with the Olympic spirit, Wild Frog Studio is pleased to announce the launch of its London Olympics Doodle Contest today. The Olympic sports doodle contest, which runs through August 13th (after the closing ceremony of the Olympics) encourages people to submit their best doodle for a chance to win a prize.

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