1. “This is for Everyone”: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the World Wide Web, opened the games with a micro blog for the world:
2. Golden Couple: Team GB cycling medalists Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce they are dating using Twitter. “So yes it’s out there me and @JasonKenny107 are dating. Been a little while now just didn’t want the distraction before the games x”
3. Tube Gold: Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limbardo went out with the rest of the Venezuelan team to celebrate his country’s first gold medal in 44 years to the delight of tube travellers who described it as “amazing”.
4. Zonderland Wonderland: Broadcasters opted to screen another athlete’s performance and “missed” the opportunity to broadcast the winning routine live. The difficulty left crowds gasping and Epke Zonderland became the 1stever male gymnast from the Netherlands to win a gymnastics medal. YouTube uploads from spectators filled the gap until official footage could be rescheduled and released
5. Official Timing Systems Jammed: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked Twitter & Facebook users to stop consuming bandwidth needed by broadcast media during the cycling time trial, after GPS data transmissions stopped working correctly – making it difficult to report how far leaders were ahead of the rest of the pack.Organizers underestimated the “hundreds of thousands” of people sending texts, pictures and updates to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
6. The ‘Friendly’ Games: Everyone is joining in the fun and celebrations.Some commentators expressed concerns before The Games that perhaps over-zealous security and presence of uniformed personnel might taint the Olympic ideals/spirit.
As it turned out spontaneous interactions with Games Makers and security personnel were numerous and widely shared, leading to Jacques Rogge, Chairman of the IOC, christening 2012 at the closing ceremony as The ‘Friendly’ Games.
7. Team Rawanda: Michael Acton used Instagram to capture Olympians taking a bus into town to enjoy the city. Getting close to athletes is surprisingly common and delighting.
8. #NBCfail: US audiences (20,000+) expressed irritation, frustration and anger at NBC’s scheduling of content, in many instances depriving viewers of the suspense and excitement associated with a live event and hugely anticipated outcome. NBC sought to herd viewers to appointed times to recover their $1.1BN investment from advertisers.NBC seems to have overlooked the fact that 21stcentury audiences have become used to getting news instantaneously and Usain Bolt winning the 100m was just as much news as it was entertainment. One journalist expressed it as “Trying to herd modern, internet-savvy audiences to a TV at night is akin to turning off the nation’s stoves and asking them to cook over open fires.”To many, NBC’s approach was out of touch with technology’s ability to engage and involve audiences in popular events. VPN’s and proxy services were used by those able or confident enough to scramble computer’s addresses so they could legally access the 24 live streams from BBC iPlayer.
9. Karaoke Medalists: Britain’s Olympic athletes made their own version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now to celebrate the success of Team GB at London 2012. In 4 days it reached 1.3M views, which is especially impressive if you consider their official ‘Take the Stage’ ad had 700,000 after 4 months!
10. Twitter Reunites Ticket & Owner: Mike Boag lost his £300 athletics ticket near Farringdon Station. An hour later when at home he realised it wasn’t in his possession and frantically began searching. (£300 to see the athletics)
Meanwhile Cameron Montgomery found the ticket; first he asked station staff, then Facebook, LinkedIn and finally Twitter if anyone had lost a ticket saying “So has anyone in the Farringdon area lost a Olympics ticket near Farringdon” – it was re-tweeted widely, even the BBC published the appeal to find its owner.
In desperation some 10 hours later Mike typed into Google “Lost Olympic Ticket” which returned a number of tweets containing Cameron’s message. Mike was reunited with his ticket some hours later – an hour before the scheduled event.
Mike says “this restored my faith in humanity” and bought Cameron a bottle of champagne as a token of his appreciation.
Feedback have always said that social media is about supplementing and enriching existing media.
To enjoy athletes performance to the maximum we need to have it full screen with hi-def & surround sound – and TV is a necessity. Now though, the social medium has added another dimension. Social Media has changed how we consume the Olympics, since it gives us proximity to the competitors – previously impossible, thereby increasing our appetite for it. It enhances the experience by being close to athletes’ preparation, frustrations and celebrations. In turn this has a community effect which serves to bring people together in support of very raw detailed stories of human endeavor.
Social technologies have also made it possible to identify and select athletes to support in those instances where there are no competitors from your own country. By the time you have cheered them in the qualifiers, read their blog and seen their family you feel you know them and the fact they come from Latvia or Senegal feels almost incidental.