Before the start of the 2012 summer games, the London Olympics had also been deemed the first "Social Media Olympics," and for good reason. Fans have never had such easy access to the competitors, and to the results of every single event. Twelve years ago, all we had was Bob Costas in a tacky room on a circular chair interviewing an athlete we've all never heard of; however, today we know much more about every event, and a mysterious athlete's entire life story can be found with a simple google search on a mobile phone. These games are clearly different.
Outside of NBC in America, the BBC corp has joined in on the fun by updating something they call the "The Social Media Medallists." Ultimately, they have created a fake games where people are awarded for their success on twitter and on other social media platforms. They have awarded gold to actor, Samuel L. Jackson for tweets like, "Brit Cyclists keep Breaking WR's!! Dude had a point early this week, Brits EXCEL @ Sit Down Sports!" Ironically they awarded silver to British cyclist, Bradley Wiggins, for heart warming tweets such as, "Well what a day, blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed with all the messages, Thank You everyone it's been emotional X."
It's not just the tweets that are being rewarded, the "Best Social Media Picture" Gold medal went to a picture of the Rwandan Olympic team waiting for the bus in East London. The caption of the photo reads "This is why I love the Olympics. Team Rwanda at my bus stop." In other news, Reuters has awarded Michael Phelps with the Gold Medal in Social Media as a result of gaining over one million new twitter followers since the start of the games. The silver goes to Usain Bolt with a not so measly 725,000 new followers.
These games have certainly been fun with the same old unknown American heroes, the Kenyan and Jamaican runners; and, of course, Team USA basketball. However, now we have access to every bit of information, and this may be for the worst. After NBC failed to broadcast the Men's 100m sprint live, the hash tag #NBCFail went viral; furthermore, it became national news when it became public knowledge that team USA swimmer Ryan Lochte's parents are facing foreclosure on their Florida home. Lastly, ESPN published a full article about sex in the Olympic village. Surely, this has been going on for years, but would this ever have come out before the Social Media age of the Olympic Games. We can only wonder what kinds of surprises await us in Rio 2016.