The 2012 “Social Media Olympics”

So far, the events of this year’s Olympics have been thoroughly tweeted, liked, shared, +1ed, and pinned by social media users. The social media trend, which was still in its beginning stages when the Beijing Olympics of 2008 took place, has dominated the 2012 London Olympics (making it the first-ever “social media Olympics”) and has proven to make the games a little more… chaotic than usual.

Because social media gives users a way to connect instantly, it’s resulted in a strong demand for “right now.” When NBC decided not to stream the opening ceremony or certain Olympic events live (to save the highlights for primetime), social media users were baffled. Frantic hacking began all over the web. As a response to the uproar, journalist Guy Adams published a list of corporate names and email addresses on Twitter so that other users could know who was responsible for NBC’s decision. His account was suspended.

During the games, social media has also been used as a tool for protest. Nike, who is not advertising during this year’s Olympics, sparked a sponsorship uproar by athletes on Twitter. Many took to the social media site to complain about Rule 40 – the regulation that prevents athletes from advertising for non-Olympic sponsors before and during the games. Track & field athletes Dawn Harper, Sanya Richards-Ross, and Nick Symmonds (among many others) have all taken part in the hashtag #WeDemandChange.

Though social media is a great way to express your thoughts, several users have used it to say a little too much: Two athletes – Greek track & field athlete Voula Papachristou and Swiss footballer Michael Morganella – were kicked out of the games for posting racists tweets. British lawmaker Aidan Burley earned a harsh reprimand from fellow conservatives after he tweeted that the opening ceremony was “leftie, multicultural crap.” Then there was the 17-year-old boy who was arrested after sending harassment messages to British diver Tom Daley after he finished fourth in an event.

So the social media road has been a bumpy one during this year’s games… But it hasn’t all been bad: With the ability to connect instantly to one another, Olympic athletes have been using social media to share their thoughts and feelings with fans, spectators are able to show their support for their favorite teams and athletes and, overall, social media has brought together people from all over the globe to make this year’s Olympics the most watched since the games in Atlanta in 1996.

We want to know – do you use social media to keep up with the Olympics?

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