The Olympics have always been a time where nations gather around television sets worldwide, and watch to see how their country’s athletes measure up in the grand scheme of things. What’s different this time around, is that social media has evolved so much that this is not the only view we’re getting of the Olympics.
Because of the power of social media, athletes’ freedom to post whatever they want has been suppressed by the International Olympic Committee. Sharing on different social media outlets has become so influential that guidelines needed to be provided as to what was considered acceptable. This advisory apparently does not apply to journalists covering the event, who have been posting their less than livable sleeping quarters. There’s even a Twitter handle named @SochiProblems, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the games that they would not have been privy to otherwise. The focus on the Olympics now becomes not just about the games but also the conditions surrounding it. In fact, the supplementary Olympics content being shared on social media may be getting more buzz and overshadowing the games themselves.
Instagram was launched in October of 2010, so it didn’t even make the February 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. This has given us an entirely different avenue to view Olympic content. Adhering to the guidelines that the IOC has set forth, athletes have been posting photos in their uniforms, videos from their practices, and documenting iconic moments, like the Opening Ceremony. This way of sharing content has become so influential, that even a publication like The New York Times is posting Instagram compilation articles. That being said, Instagram and Vine videos are also new to the games. These outlets are not only creating a way for viewers to become a part of the conversation but are also becoming another way to document history.
According to metered-market results, the television ratings for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics was down, Forbes commented on the lackluster spectacle as well, but it didn’t stop numerous outlets from “live blogging” about the event. The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Mashable and more, all were providing their own play by plays in real time, commenting on what was being aired. This of course wasn’t live, since the ceremony was air-delayed for the US and sparked a negative backlash on Twitter with the hashtag #NBCFail, proving once again, the voice of the viewer and the exponential growth of social media since the last games.
This year’s Olympics in Sochi are a perfect example of the influential power that social media has on everything. It can completely change our view of an iconic event like the Olympics because we’re now getting more than the one view of what we’re seeing on TV. In the future, I can see our experience evolving to include something similar to Google Glass, so we can feel like we’re walking around at the Olympics, while never leaving the comfort of our own home. Until then, we can always live vicariously through participant’s Vine videos or whatever sharable media they come up with next.
Want more Vine and Instagram? Make sure you check out Nokia’s Now Studio at Campus next week! We’ll have on-hand stars from the platform to show you how to maximize shortform content.
More interested in dealing with regulation? Then, you’ll want to check out our special three-hour track with LiveWorld/Pfizer.
Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.