The 2012 Socialympics

olympics-2012-logoThis month marks the start of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

In the four years since the Beijing Olympics a lot has happened in the world of social media. We’ve elected a new president who harnessed the power of social media to help get elected for the first time. We ended a war that was played out through social media on a regular basis for the first time too.

Surprising to some, we’ve also watched a social networking site grow from 100 million users to a publicly traded company with almost 900 million active users.

Today’s social media community isn’t what it was four years ago and this year’s summer Olympics will be what some are calling the first “Socialympics”.

The growth of social media since the Beijing Olympics has spurred an obvious need to revamp International Olympic Committee (IOC) social media policies at the games. Rules and regulations about the use of content surrounding the Olympics must comply with some pretty strict rules, which include tweets and Facebook posts.

In a post on Rachel Boothroyd, General Counsel at, discusses the UK legislation that brands and social media professionals and marketers need to be aware of. She shares Olympic social media rules for brands – dos and don’ts such as:

  • Brands cannot associate themselves with the Olympics
  • Comply with the Olympic Association Right (OAR) and London Olympic Association Right (LOAR)
  • Provide the facts and take a journalistic approach to avoid violating restrictions
  • Avoid marketing campaigns framed around the Olympics
  • For additional information about brand protection and statutory marketing rights, download the brand protection pdf on the site.

With so many restrictions, what are marketers to do? Taking a journalistic approach to sharing content about the Olympics seems to be the safest way marketers can still participate in the conversation, according to Boothroyd. Retweet, share, repin, post, “like”, comment on, review, download, subscribe, +1 and blog about the information that is already being shared.

With so many social channels in use there will be plenty of opportunities to participate. Here are seven of the most popular social channels you can use to not only stay aware but use as an opportunity to join the conversation for your own possible journalistic efforts.

1. Olympic Online Communities

Several websites are available to help keep you up-to-date on the Olympic activities before, during and after the events. The official websites are:

With more than 1,000 athletes participating online, the Olympic Athletes’ Hub is the online community sports enthusiasts really should know about. Connect with athletes in real time chats, get updates about your favorite athletes, earn points and badges by participating in the Hub community.

Many of the sites do a great job of integrating Facebook and Twitter open graph. When signing up for the Olympic Hub site for example, users are able to sign in using Facebook or Twitter and connect with all their friends for easy registration, sharing, and data capture as well.

2. Facebook

Several pages are available online to stay in touch with your favorite athletes or see the most updated results for your favorite event. The Official Olympics page at over 2.8 million strong, NBC Olympics page and Countdown App are regularly updated accounts worth a “like”. Additionally, the official Olympics & Paralympics page is a great page to subscribe to.

For more Olympic themed fun, take a look at some of the sponsors “vying for socialympics supremecy”.


The Panasonic Flag Tags app allows you to tag your face with patriotic flag themed face paint, and the Visa Cheer app helps you to show your support for your favorite athletes. These are just a few of the fun ways brands are getting involved with the Olympics.

3. Twitter

While some are touting the Socialympics to be more of a “Facebook Olympics”, I’ll admit I was more social media geeked to see the Twitter integration by the IOC than anything else.

Not only are official accounts available for @Olympics, @USOlympicTeam, @IOCMedia (Official Olympic News), and London 2012, but Lists are also available. The Twitter Lists available to follow include Olympians Twitter list and automated results for all sports at the Olympics just to name a few.

4. Google+

The Olympics use of Google+ has proved meaningful for engagement and activity. Over 300,000 users have the London 2012 Google+ page in their circles, with many posts receiving well over 50 comments and +1s.

5. YouTube


In a recent post on Mashable, a USOC (United States Olympic Committee) representative shared that their choice to use YouTube as a channel was in large part due to the platform’s reach. They plan to push 5 to 10 videos per day during the Olympics in efforts to grow and use their Team USA YouTube channel effectively.

Staying tuned to the channel is a definite must, as well as the Official Olympic Channel by the IOC and video galleries on the Olympics website, available to search and view on demand.

6. Photos/Pinterest

Photo galleries on the Olympic website are available to search through and share on Twitter, Facebook, even Google+ but not Pinterest – yet. There are many boards dedicated to the Olympics on Pinterest and I suspect we’ll see more in the coming weeks.

An official Pinterest page doesn’t exist yet but with the popularity of the platform Olympic pins are bound to go popular as the games begin. Conduct a search on Pinterest to see updated results of Olympic themed pins or join a London 2012 Flickr group.

7. Shazaam

A recent partnership between Shazaam and Comcast’s NBCUniversal will allow users of the Shazaam app to access additional content when using the app during broadcasts on five NBC networks. The recent integration of Shazaam with the Grammys offered additional social engagement and proved successful for their efforts, the same remains to be seen for the Olympics.

The list of social channels could go on forever, but these are just a few of the ways to use social media to participate during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

How do you plan on staying connected? Share with us in the comments below.

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