Socialympics: Social Media Communication for the Olympics

The Olympic games in London, with the motto of  “swifter, higher, stronger” is taking on the new label of “Socialympics.”  In the four year since the Beijing games, the use of social media platforms has surged. Facebook has gone from about 100 million active users to about 900 million, Twitter from six million to about 150 million. Also, many more people have smartphones, so they are able to react immediately to something they have seen, or heard within the stadium, arena, court, or ring. It is very clear that the London games will be tweeted, tagged, liked, blogged, and rehashed like no other Olympics ever has.

It is rare to find an Olympic competitor who does not have a Twitter account, that is monitored and updated 24 hours a day. Olympic sponsors seem to be even more active in the social media sites. Originally advertisement was strictly with television advertisement, however it has quickly changed into the social media phenomenon. London 2012 Social Scoreboard, was created and shows how the Olympic sponsors rank according to the different types of social media networks used. P&G rates number one across the board. Their networking sites consist of a website, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. P&G has been consistently on top stating, “ Clearly any marketer would be dumb to miss the social media piece.”

With the rise in social media marketing, sharing, and connecting this Olympics, new restrictions have been enforced. This marks the first year that there are new, strict guidelines that includes provisions of social media that puts into detail what marketers may and may not do.  The special legislation of the London games recently enacted bans the actions of certain word combinations within social media networks. For example, non-sponsors have been warned to try not to put “twenty-twelve” and “gold” in the same Tweet.

Even the athletes and spectators have restrictions, too. Neither is permitted to post video footage of sporting events to online forums. Participations are allowed to post on blogs or Twitter, but the posting must be in a “ first-person, diary-types format and should not be in the role of a journalist.” The rules state that, “ They must not report on competition or comment on the activities of other participants, or disclose any information which is confidential or private.”

The question residing this Olympics is much more than who will win each event, or come out on top. This year, will organizers be able to enforce the guidelines when the games get under way with millions of Twitter messages and Facebook postings on a global scale? Already there are reports of athletes that have violated the regulations by taking and posting pictures.

Let the games and postings begin.

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