What you can learn from the 2012 London Olympics

“For better and for worse, the 2012 Olympics are being shaped, shaken and indisputably changed by a social media revolution that four years ago in Beijing was in its toddlerhood.” – Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press

Whether or not you are plugged in to the Olympics, the Olympics are officially plugged in. Everyone who is anyone is tweeting about the Olympics, from the Opening Ceremony to the individual events, whether they are across the world, on the ground or one of the atheletes themselves. From fan reactions, sprited rally cries of joy or devestation over medal winners, or revolutions over sponsorship restrictions, #Olympics is the social event of the year.

According to International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams, “more than 15 million fans are following and participating in the Olympic experience via Twitter and other social media platforms, not to mention a good proportion of the 10,800 athletes.” And what’s more, the Olympic Committee is not trying to impose restrictions on this social media outpouring; on the contrary, they are encouraging it.

So what lessons can you take away from this social event? One very important one, would seem to be summed up in the words of Barbara Ortutay, “It’s amazing how much trouble can be stirred up in 140 characters.” It really makes you think: is there such thing as bad publicity? Are all of these tweets attracting more or less attention to the games, the brand of the Olympics, and possibly the athelete’s sponsors too? How can you successfully run a campaign like this, and hope to control it on such a grand and public scale? The answer is simply: you can’t. But you can hope that whatever people are tweeting is at least bringing attention to your brand or company, and spreading the word.

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