We’re getting pretty excited about the Olympics. With just a week to go, we’ve launched a new section on the site, dedicated to covering the Games from a variety of angles and points of expertise. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should.
One of the features is our new Team Blog, with a starting line-up of 15 writers in Australia and the UK, comprising academics and Olympic athletes. How does it feel to dedicate your life so fully to a discipline that you don’t see your family for three years? Read this terrific post by Olympic rower Brodie Buckland to find out.
Unlike the, ahem, meticulous planning that’s gone into the London Games, the Team Blog is designed to be a bit anarchic. And very much like the Games, it’s designed to inspire and act as a showcase for some tremendous individuals.
Please do “like” our Facebook page and follow our dedicated Olympics Twitter account – @TCOlympics – for behind-the-scenes analysis of the sport, science, business, environment & politics of the Games – and, of course, to share your views.
Reuters (19 July)
Fans inside a stadium will be allowed to use their smartphones to film Usain Bolt on the track or Michael Phelps in the pool, but they will not be allowed to upload it to Facebook in a ruling that may surprise many tech-savvy fans who now upload clips on a regular basis.
A spokeswoman for Facebook said the group had a close relationship with the London organizers and would respond to any IP violations in the same way they do with other events.
And the prevalence of social media is also throwing up different challengers for the London organizers.
“Um, so we’ve been lost on the road for 4hrs,” said twice world 400 meters hurdles champion Kerron Clement via Twitter, showing how one athlete could change the perception of the Games and the reporting of the Games with just one 140 character Tweet. “Not a good first impression London.
“Athletes and officials are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please?”
Traditional media including newspapers and TV in Britain jumped on the fact the bus driver had got lost, despite the rest of the transport system appearing to be working properly.
IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games (31 August 2011).
James Manning (Sydney Morning Herald, 15 July):
The IOC’s official Facebook page, which has 2.9 million fans, will host live video chats with athletes from within the Olympic village. The IOC has also partnered Facebook for Explore London 2012, an official page that presents the Facebook pages of athletes, teams and sports. ”We want to bring discovery to the Olympics,” Facebook’s Joanna Shields says.
There are also official Olympics pages on Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube (though YouTube’s streams are not viewable in Australia due to broadcasting rights).
Ninemsn has also capitalised on the rise of social media with Social Games, an online game in which cash is awarded to fans who share the most articles, photos and videos via social media.
But there are some rules around social media for both spectators and athletes. Due to broadcasting rights, viewers can take video for personal use but not share it on social media. You can post photos on social media, as long as you don’t earn money from them.
We’re working with the UK’s foremost expert on Twitter sentiment analysis, Professor Mike Thelwall, from the University of Wolverhampton, and Sosolimited (www.sosolimited.com), a team of MIT graduates with expertise in linguistic analysis and data visualisation, to provide a robust methodology, state of the art analytics and accurate results. Throughout London 2012 we will be measuring the Energy of the Nation by reading the raw Twitter feed and filtering it for those tweets originating from the UK that make reference to the Olympics.
Seb Coe (20 July)
LOCOG chief Sebastian Coe has advised British athletes to forget about using Twitter during the Olympics.
“Personally I have found quite a close correlation between the number of tweets at competitive times and the level of under-performance,” he said.
“I have found a direct correlation between the amount of activity an athlete enters into on social media and their ultimate performance when it really matters – but that’s for them to figure out.”