Friday, August 10, 2012

Social Mobile Local Global and the Olympics

distinctive uniforms worn by Team GB at London olympics
Team GB uniforms by Stella McCartney and adidas

At the time of writing this, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, or Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or more recently 'Team GB' are doing rather well at London 2012 Summer Olympics. With a haul of 26 gold, 16 silver and 14 bronze medals - it’s our best showing for over a century. With 204 countries competing, this Olympic Games is truly a global event and shared throughout the world on social networks.

Social - Twitter
Before the games even started a Greek athlete was kicked off the team for tweeting with a racist overtone and it’s been a story of highs and lows for Twitter ever since. After posting some pretty malicious tweets about the diver Tom Daley, a teenager from Weymouth was arrested and given a dressing down by the police. For a fleeting moment this story was global headline news and seems to have re-ignited the debate as to how the authorities should deal with social network incidents of this nature.

Adam Naisbitt set up @2012TicketAlert after he tried to get hold of gymnastics tickets for his fiancĂ©e. This unofficial ticket alert helped thousands of people get tickets and filled the empty seats that were causing such a stir in the media. Of course the people at Ticketmaster and  LOCOG didn’t like his code crawling their site and they put a stop to it. But 30,000 angry Twitter users ensured that the service was re-instated. The Ticket Alert profile now has 54,466 followers.

Each day Google has been running little games on their home page that typically take less than 30 seconds to play. They look nice, well illustrated as with all Google Doodles, are easy to play and are relevant to the day's sporting events.

Any search involving the keyword ‘medals’ results in an up to date medal table at the top of the SERPS. Yep, the UK does seem to be doing rather well!

After winning gold in the Women's Heptathlon, Jessica Ennis had amassed over 600,000 followers and counting: today it is 726,516 with 957,976 talking about this page. Chances are that at least one of your Facebook ‘friends’ has liked her official page. But that is still a way off from the American basketball player, Kobe Bryant’s who has 13 million 'Likes'!  David Beckham, Britain's most decorated football player of all time, has 20 million. There’s even a trend in celebrity chart  if you prefer that to the actual medal count! Naturally, Usain Bolt is the most popular Olympian today.

There’s an app for that.
Shortly after the first athletes started arriving at the Olympic village, 'GPS, location-based Grindr', an app, or also known as a 'geosocial networking application', that hooks up gay men with others in the local vicinity, crashed due to the increase in traffic. Both the BBC Olympics and the official London 2012 apps have proved extremely popular. The free BBC Olympics app for iOS and Android devices gives headlines, video features, schedules and details about every sport, country and competitor.

The Join In app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones connect viewers with local news updates and information about everything that is going on, in and around the Olympics, such as maps, guides, schedules, information on cash machine locations, ticketing issues and wheelchair access.

Rule 40
“Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”  In the interests of protecting big global business sponsors, this effectively barred athletes from thanking any unofficial sponsors on social media platforms. The athletes are considered 'labelled marketing assets' and Twitter as a 'marketing tool'.

Media - BBC
The BBC, as usual, have done us proud. The 'Danny Boyle, Isle of Wonders' opening ceremony had 27M UK viewers and not surprisingly, generated more tweets than the entire Beijing Olympic Games four years ago and amassed a staggering 9.66 million worldwide tweets . Nice touch honouring Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the Web, in the ceremony. You can watch any event live on the BBC website. You can get involved with live comments and nowadays the BBC even retweet comments.

All the major newspapers like @Telegraph2012  have set up dedicated Twitter streams of Olympic coverage. Many of the newspapers regularly make direct quotes from Twitter posts.

The Olympics inspired blogs from all over the world, from sport clothing designs, jokes, politics, women's rights, celebrity to youth engagement ideals.

In addition to Transport for London’s (TfL) permanent Twitter account (@TfLOfficial) a number of Transport for London Twitter accounts were set up to provide additional local advice on how services and roads are operating during the Games @TfLTrafficNews, @TfLTraveAlerts and @GAOTG.

The 'social media accounts' and 'travel mailing lists' introduced by TfL are supplemented by a number of other online travel platforms. Concentra launched an interactive graphic detailing which Tube stations were likely to face the most severe disruptions on any given day of the Olympics; Google maps offered cycling directions for Londoners planning on cycling to work during the Games.

Mashable Tech did their own article on The Olympics of tech which makes some entertaining reading about achievements in digital, mobile, social and programming.

Half of all the searches and video streams in USA and UK are coming from mobiles and tablets during the Olympic games. Social Mobile Local Global; it’s all the same thing!

It is amazing to see all the technologies, social and search all coming together. Here at Rocktime we feel very proud of the Olympians and we are reminded yet again what a great industry of digital development we work in.

Which social or technical innovation inspired you the most at the Olympics?

Authors: Foz, Fiona Anderson


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