Vancouver 2010 Olympics & Social Media

by ohdanyel

Vancouver 2010 has been the first Olympics to experience social media in full force. During the Beijing Olympics, companies and events still hadn’t harnessed the use of social media as they are today. With the growing popularity of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, real-time updates are higher than ever before. Everyone watching the games can tweet about it. Olympic athletes can blog about their experiences, and update their Facebook statuses so everyone watching knows what’s going on. NBC has an Olympic Twitter tracker, which captures what the world is saying about the Olympics, right now.

This gives insight into how the public feels about the Olympics, what the athletes feel, and I would say makes it much more of a group experience. We can’t all be in Vancouver, but we can connect with people who are, and watch spectator videos on YouTube, look at Olympic photos on flickr and Facebook. Because of the shift in social media, the International Olympic Committee even loosened its policies on depictions of the rings in photographs, and is hosting their own flickr fan group page. Only accredited photographers are allowed to shoot from the media sections inside the Olympic venues. The IOC has traditionally prohibited people from sharing their Olympic photos, but it is now encouraging people to do so. Content is being shared with more freedom than in any other Olympic Games.

This affects the way the media has always had control over what goes out about the games, and opens much more of a dialogue to the general public. This is the first Olympic Games where a notable percentage of accredited media spots weren’t being filled. But the shift is helping to bring old and new media together, as people take note of the changes.

What an amazing experience and an incredible way to feel a part of the Olympics in 2010.

Update: I found it interesting that a study just conducted in Maryland looked at kids being addicted to social media, but that they still got their news for big events like the olympics from the newspaper. Social media may have greatly infiltrated the accessibility of the olympics this time around, but traditional media still has a place. In the article, students were asked to go 24-hours without the use of any sort of social media.  students are accustomed to consuming news through social media, which is why i find it interesting that they would still turn to traditional media for the Olympics. Or perhaps it’s just a union of the two.