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Smartphones, Social Media to Lead the Charge on Reporting at the London Olympic Games

April 24, 2012


The 2012 Olympic Games in London are fast approaching — in fact, there are less than 100 days to go as of last week — and many are beginning to wonder just how the summer Olympics of 2012 will differ from the 2008 Olympics games in Beijing. While this may at first seem silly — not that much has changed in four years, right? — it is actually an excellent point to consider.

In 2008, for example, Facebook (News - Alert) was pretty popular but that popularity pales in comparison to today — Facebook use grew by 168 percent between 2010 and 2011 alone while Twitter (News - Alert) use grew a remarkable 297 percent in that same time frame. More to the point, smartphone use has skyrocketed in the last four years due to Apple's massively popular iPhone and Google's (News - Alert) plethora of Android devices.

This will ultimately result in the first truly connected social online Olympic event in history, something that the International Olympic Committee has acknowledged by setting up an online hub which connects fans with Olympic athletes. It is the rise in smartphones, though, that will really change this year's Olympic games as each spectator will be able to record videos and snap photos and upload all media to YouTube (News - Alert) or Facebook within seconds. For example, some estimates reckon that at the end of the 100m sprint event in London, millions of photos will be available online within minutes.

This is a huge change with how the world was previously able to experience the Olympics — that is, passively. To get an idea of just how different this year's summer Olympics will be, one need only look back two years to the World Cup in South Africa. Much of the reporting available on the event at the time was provided via Twitter and this personalized look into the event was in many ways more interesting and entertaining than the official broadcasts.

This isn't to say that traditional reporting will fall by the wayside for major events like the Olympics, but amateur reporting provided by social media outlets provides a more personal feel that nicely supplements the official reports.

Edited by Jennifer Russell