SMW12 Rewind: Alex Balfour and Social Olympics



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Alex Balfour, Head of Digital for the London 2012 Olympic Games started off his event hosted at Unruly Media with a behind the scenes video montage highlighting the digitization of the Olympics through the various 77 digital channels. His original job description was ‘webmaster’ by the way. The digital success of #London2012 can be attributed to integrated Facebook, Twitter, phone apps, online games, and a backstage ceremony blog to connect with their audience. 60% of visits to digital interaction came from mobile devices. A number that proved surprising but maybe shouldn’t have been and sets the states for #Rio2016 to prepare to be not the ‘digital games’ as London was but truly the ‘mobile games.’ No doubt focus for online engagement should come from mobile first when it comes to building sites for 2016.

Host Alex Balfour outlined their strategy of monitoring and clear communication and planning as social media posts became stories when picked up by mainstream media. Bringing the greatest value emphasized validating information and keeping it in context. With over 180,000 tweets/day its clear that hashtags worked well in building relationships and finding commonality in networking. Over 10K users tuned in for the Google+ hangout presented during the opening ceremony.

The biggest outreach channel remained email with digital key to driving sign-ups. 5 millions subscribers, 83 million game time emails, and over 15 million opened. In conclusion, Mr. Balfour stressed that the output of any digital event is very much dependent on the team involved in the input, and stressed that working in digital media means learning on the job all the time.

See what you missed below.

Beckie Stravers is a New Yorker, blogger in chief at, and a social media pusher at She loves tweets and the internet, and hopes to see  you around the world wide web. She is one of our four Official Correspondents covering SMW12 for Crowdcentric.

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