I’m drinking a Coke emblazoned with the Olympic rings and a silhouette of a tennis player against USA stripes. 2012 has changed the Olympic Games. In June, we tweeted an article that labeled the London Games the “socialympics” and went on to say, “Hash tags, (at) signs and “like” symbols will be as prevalent as national flags, Olympic pins and medal ceremonies. Some athletes may spend more time on Twitter and Facebook than the playing field.” Now, a week in, the internet is tweeting another tune with the trending #NBCfail hashtag and with articles like Social Media is Ruining the Olympics. Olympians have been banned for tweets, and “within the first few days of the Olympics, social media went from being a wonderland of national pride and enchanting hashtags to the inevitable pandemonium of complaints, self indulgent agendas, and uproar that is typically expected from the social media platforms,” says Adriana Lopez.
Social media works best as a platform of discussion. For the Super Bowl or the Grammy Awards everyone shares the experience together and conversations are immediate and inclusive. Learning that Phelps placed second for the 200-meter butterfly hours before the race is aired kills the thrill of screaming from our living room couches, or bar stools, or in the taxi streaming from our smartphones. We all know the outcome – so and so already blabbed on Twitter.
Here at SocialEngine, we see communities for every topic, including sports. SCOA, or the Southern California Outdoor Adventurers club, brings people together who are passionate about exploring California’s coast, desert and mountains from Santa Barbara to San Diego. SocialEngine powers communities for soccer, cycling, MMA, and even skateboarding in the UK.
Lopez also says, “Social media should be used as a symbiotic tool in the delivery of information.” Remember this when building your community. Social media is not a separate platform isolated from normal broadcasting or used only by subsets of people; it is being used by everyone, more and more, everyday. The opening ceremony in London generated more than 9.66 million tweets, more tweets than the entire 2008 Olympics in Beijing. People use the internet to share and discuss, and if you provide a home for these conversations, no matter the topic, you’ll create a vibrant community where members listen and engage in conversations that matter to them. The Olympics are demonstrating some problems of needing to know everything the minute it happens, which social media provides, so let’s see how you—the social media entrepreneurs of the future—approach these problems.
Now it’s time to track down some table tennis matches!