The 2012 Summer Games, hosted by the good people of London, has already been dubbed the “First Social Media Games”. As we start the second week of the XXX Olympiad, the world has already seen what a huge impact social media has had on the games – and the numbers are staggering! Twitter has already reported that the opening ceremonies sparked 9.66 million mentions, topping the total number of Twitter posts during the entire 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. According to iProspect, a large British digital marketing agency, and Carat, a media agency, Twitter was by far the favorite social media site, accounting for 97% of all online conversations about the opening ceremony.
Social Media Goes for Gold in London
For those of us who are Twitter users, we know there are good and bad sides to this social media platform. For this year’s athletes, it is a unique way to communicate “directly” to their fans, families back home, and other athletes. “Twitter and social media are how we can get our word out, and fans kind of want to see what things look like from behind the scenes,” says U.S. swimmer Ricky Berens in a recent Mashable article. “TV portrays things the way it wants to and we can give a lot more than that.”
The dark side of social media, however, can be downright mean and pressure-packed, as we have already seen during the first week of the games. After becoming the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around women’s gymnastics competition, America’s newest sweetheart, Gabby Douglas, became victim to social media bullies who made fun of her hair. When Aussie swimmer Emily Seebohm failed to take gold in the 100-meter backstroke final, she told reporters that she believed the pressure put on her via social media to win gold caused her to lose the race. “…Maybe I just started believing that I’d already won by the time I had swum…I just felt like I didn’t get off (social media) and get into my own mind,” said Seebohm.