Global TV Tech Buzz: The Social Olympics


It started on the streets of Beijing 2008.

Then an alternative media centre was created for Vancouver 2010.

Now, at London 2012, social media is a legitimate part of the Olympic Games.

“To be frank, it would be a little bit like King Canute if we said, ‘No, these aren’t the social media games’, because everyone has decided they are anyway,” says Mark Adams, the IOC’s communications director. “We will help people have a good time and social media is a new way of doing that, so fine.”

Yes, many are calling these “The Social Olympics“, and you just have to flip through the Twitter accounts of the athletes to find out how these Games are different.

Olympic medallists letting you in on the secrets that seconds after winning Gold and completing their Olympic careers for the year, they hit McDonald’s.

That’s a little better than some of the other missives that have been flying back and forth on Twitter from the likes of Swiss soccer players, and Greek triple jumpers.

It’s true, twitter is public, and you’d best be careful what you say on the platform.

Guy Adams is a journalist who has been using Twitter to criticize NBC’s practice of tape delaying events to show later in prime time. He was so vocal in his protestation that he went so far as to encourage his followers to email NBC brass. He posted an email address in a tweet, and Twitter deemed that to be a violation of publishing personal information. For 3 days he was banned from Twitter until a groundswell asked for him to be reinstated.

Twitter is surging during these games. The volume of tweets is some 8x that of the Vancouver 2010 Games, just 30 months ago. The flood of information is so huge that some are blaming it for technical issues with the Games themselves.

Athletes are being open and honest, but there are still things they’re not allowed to tweet during the Games. Rule 40 bars them from making mention of anyone who is not an official IOC sponsor. For many athletes, that means no mentions of Nike. Sure, they can wear the shoes, or the shirts, but they can pay them no lip service on social media. Adidas is part of “the Olympic Family,” not Nike.

As with all social media, some argue that it’s a little addictive and are accusing the athletes of being on it too much. Simon Whitfield shot that idea down quite quickly.

Twitter isnt just inspiration for Whitfield, it also propelled British weightlifter Zoe Smith. In the leadup to the games, there was a documentary on her team. While many were inspired, some fought back on Twitter with digs at women who choose to weightlift. Smith had the last laugh in competition this week when she broke a national record.

“I gave it to them on the platform,” she told the Daily Mail “It’s two fingers up to them, basically. What are you doing with your life? I’ve just competed at the Olympics! Have some of that, trolls!”

The bottom line is the access Twitter gives us in to the Athlete’s Village is better than any Bob Costas or Brian Williams narrated vignette. Just check out these:

spy vs spy appAPP OF THE WEEK: Spy vs Spy 99c
This is a great local app, that also just happens to be No. 1 on Apple’s App Store. Robots and Pencils‘ Spy vs Spy has been out for only a week but it is already the top selling iPhone/iPad app in multiple countries.

Spy vs Spy is based on the original, multi-million unit selling, break out hit on the Commodore 64; Apple II series; and Atari 400/800 computers by First Star Software, Inc. It features online and local multiplayer matches, 16 new embassies (plus the original 8), and a pixel perfect retro mode as well as a modern mode, both with the famous black and white spies from MAD Magazine.

Your mission: escape the embassy, top secret briefcase in hand. Remember, all else is but a mere distraction! You must locate and finally collect the missing passport, traveling money, key and secret plans before making your way to the airport door to board your plane – all before time runs out -all while placing booby-traps for your opponent, avoiding or defusing those set by him and engaging in club-to-club combat.

Old school, meet new school.



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