So it’s finally here!! The long awaited day is upon us. Years of planning and preparation culminate in the start of the Olympics, London 2012.
As tonight’s opening ceremony commences expect a huge influx of tweets sharing images and information about the biggest show in British history.
How exciting for those of us sat at home glued to our tellies to be able to share in real time countless impressions and personal experiences of those actually there!
Experts are predicting that Twitter will serve as an “official narrator” for the games and it has certainly been true in the run up to them. The excitement and buzz around the games is palpable. Jut when it’s slipped your mind that Britain are about to host the biggest party on the planet someone else starts a Mexicans wave of excitement. (Sat in the hairdresser I read Gary linekar saying “writing my introduction to the Olympic opening ceremony, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up!” – mine too now Gary!!)
Twitter will be so much an integral part of these games we will wonder how we could ever have got involved without it. Did we feel as interested and involved in previous games where we would have had to rely on radio and tv reportage? Now that we can follow the updates on events, the feelings of athletes about their performances, get behind-the-scenes photos and more throughout the tournament it will surely make us feel so much more a part of the action.
Twitter and NBC Universal have announced a partnership for the games. Not a financial deal as such but an opportunity for lots of cross-promotion. Twitter will use the partnership to get the message out from inside the games themselves – including Olympic athletes and NBC personalities while NBC will continually tout Twitter during its two weeks of on-air coverage.
Although the 6 year old Twitter does not have anywhere near the clout of Facebook in terms of advertising revenue (Twitter has 140 million active users versus the 901-million-strong Facebook) it is sure to want to capitalise on what is expected to be a huge surge in social media activity during the Olympics to achieve its predicted “$260 million in revenue this year” according to eMarketer Inc.
But for all those that are excited about the very real advantages of being able to stay connected to the games there are those worried about the perceived distraction of Twitter on the athletes themselves – replying to tweets, feeling obliged to partake in pre-event tweeting. As well as all manner of challenges for the organisers – details of the opening ceremony have leaked online, Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou was withdrawn after she posted a perceived racist tweet and athletes who have tweeted photos of their accreditation accused of causing breaches in security.
In the four years since the Beijing Olympics, the number of social media users has exploded, as has the amount of people with smartphones so whatever your take on social media one thing is for sure, these games will showcase Twitter as THE marketing platform for live events. As Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media says “Twitter is really where the party is.”
The London Olympics are set to be liked, tweeted, pinned and shared like no other event in sporting history as athletes, fans and organisers interact online in the first-ever social media Summer Olympics!!