This has been the first Olympics to fully harness the power of social media. Here are six of the biggest winners in #London2012 (apart from Katie Taylor of course)…
Twitter has been the online hub for Olympic activity. According to iProspect and Carat, 97% of all online mentions of the opening ceremony occurred on Twitter – leaving Facebook, blogs and forums hardly off the starting blocks.
The micro-blogging platform was hardly more than two years old at the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This time Twitter even took centre stage at the opening ceremony in London, when the Web’s creator Tim Berners-Lee tweeted a message for the stadium’s big screen and billions of viewers around the world.
Google rolled out a series of daily Olympics-themed “doodles” on its home page, in a project that took six months of planning.
Many of the later doodles included interactive games that went viral. There you were just wanting to do a simple search; half an hour later you were still trying to improve on your Personal Best in a kayaking race or basketball game. It was the biggest water-cooler moment in workplaces (after the exploits of the Irish boxers of course).
Google also launched its “London Hub”: when users searched for “olympics” a live medal count and event schedule appeared on the right hand side of the browser.
Instagram is less than two years old, and as of this morning it had a staggering 664,000 photos tagged #olympics and 79,000 photos tagged #olympics2012.
Thousands of visitors and athletes have been using the photo-sharing site to share their experiences with the world, giving other Instagram users a fascinating glimpse into the Olympic village and the festivities around London.
We don’t have any hard-and-fast figures for this one, but infographics were often hard to avoid during the Olympics.
One particularly smart infographic by the Pappas Group used Olympic events such as the high jump and swimming to illustrate the growth of social media since the 2008 Games. The infographic also showed which social media campaigns by major global brands such as “Team Adidas” and “Team Nike” had the biggest impact.
Another unsurprising winner was mobile. NBC and the BBC reported that over two fifths of their Olympics IP video streams were to mobile and tablet devices.
As the Google Mobile Ads Blog put it, “It’s clear that these are the first multi-screen Olympics, as users are engaging across TV, computers, smartphones and tablets, often at the same time”.
The official Google blog also said that “at some moments during the Games, there have been more searches performed on tablets and smartphones than on (desktop) computers”.
For many broadcasters the Olympics has been the biggest digitised event in their history. For the BBC this involved generating and integrating a huge amount of online content.
As Computer Weekly explains, the BBC decided to have a web page for every single athlete, much of it automatically generated using semantic web technologies. “The content interacts with broadcasts – for example, it will allow viewers to find information about competitors while they watch events.”
Giving viewers hashtags to use while watching the coverage has become the norm, and the BBC has shown athletes’ tweets across its broadcasts and on its Olympics homepage.
In Ireland, the RTÉ Player keeled over during boxer Katie Taylor’s semi-final fight; the Twittersphere exploded as anxious fans looked for advice on alternative live streams.
Apart from the occasional server glitch, RTÉ had all 12 incoming EBU satellite feeds online during the Games – and available in High Definition on its website.