Sochi 2014: The Social Media Games

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The Impact of Social Media on the 2014 Winter Olympics

In July 2012, the British press was quick to deem the London Summer Olympics the first social media games, with months of hype on all social platforms leading up to the opening ceremony of the games. Post Olympic games, there was an article and infographic released announcing the winners of the “social Olympics” with categories including top athletes, top brands, and sports (In case you’re wondering Usain Bolt came in first, Michael Phelps was in a close second and Tom Daley won bronze). This has become a heated online debate, with many arguing that Vancouver did, in fact, host the first social media Olympics in 2010 (read about it in The Vancouver Sun HERE). Regardless of which city can lay claim to social media fame and assert itself as establishing an Olympic social media legacy, it is clear that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are following suit and will out-perform both Vancouver and London: “The IOC expects to build on the higher social media profile that London provided. “We have inherited a massive fan base of over 4 million people,” its head of social media, Alex Huot, told CNN. “This will help us raise the visibility of the Olympians across social networks during and post Games” And with the International Olympic Committee’s Twitter account at over 42.7k followers, they are certainly looking to social to increase exposure of Olympians.

As the 2014 Winter Olympics fast approached, the world put Russia under the microscope and social media played a large role. You could say the social media buzz really began with a twitter-storm when BBC’s reporter, Steve Rosenberg, tweeted the infamous photo of the Sochi “twin toilets’ in January 2014, a month before the games commenced. It continued with Canadian Bobsledder, Justin Kripps, having his website shut down before even competing.
social media games
Countries are forced to be conscientious of how they are navigating social media and how they are employing social platforms, because the rest of the world is certainly attentive to social media censorship and they are quick to judge. The Canadian Olympic Committee is clearly aware of how to harness social media to leverage their “We Are Winter” Olympic campaign, which is the “most integrated, digitally enabled and largest brand undertaking in its history.” The campaign, which features the stories of 17 Canadian Olympians and has introduced the aptly-named trending hashtag #WeAreWinter, is a movement towards enabling dialogue and a genuine connection between viewers and athletes, which Christopher Overholt (CEO and Secretary General of  the COC) hopes will garner support of Canada’s athletes.
social media games
social media games

Social media is changing how viewers at home consume information and engage with the Olympics, particularly when they are held half way across the world and twelve hours into our future. In spite of the IOC’s rather stringent social media guidelines for the Sochi 2014 Olympics, athletes are still taking to social media, particularly twitter, enabling viewers to experience the Olympics through the eyes of Canadian athletes. This first-hand perspective affords viewers at home a more personal and genuine Olympic Experience.

The Globe and Mail’s top 10 Canadian athletes to follow on twitter

social media games

social media games

social media games

The House of Booje

“CREATIVITY IS CONTAGIOUS. PASS IT ON.” – ALBERT EINSTEIN

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