The first Olympics that I used the internet to cover was 1996. The late Doug Speck and I just published as much info as we could during each session. Responses were fast in coming, and that was amazing to both of us. That was twenty years ago, and social media has brought the response to almost real time. I am not sure if that is good or bad.
In this column, Dillon Vibes writes about how he used twitter to keep up with the Olympics while juggling a job and real life. I sure hope NBC understands that its most treasured demographic is watching less terrestrial TV and more streaming video and linked videos. It is all about the mobile, as 72 percent of our readers get their stories via social media on mobiles.
A Look Back on Social Media During the Olympics
by Dillon Vibes
This year’s Olympic Games saw three world records, eight Olympic records and 99 national records broken. There’s a breakdown of these records here.
Aside from individual event records, there were also record breaking performers such as Usain Bolt, who became the first man to win the 100m, 200m and 4×1 in three straight Olympic Games, and Mo Farah, who became the second man in history to take gold in both the 5k and 10k in two separate games. There were also heartfelt moments like when Abbey D’Agostino helped up Nikki Hamblin after a collision in the women’s 5k.
As an avid track and field fan, I wanted nothing more than to spend all week glued to my TV watching the games. Unfortunately, because of work and other responsibilities I wasn’t able to actually watch any of it live. So I depended on social media, mostly Twitter and Instagram, to see and read about everything that happened. And while I can’t argue that getting a Twitter update about a world record breaking performance is better than watching it live, I can argue that social media has made it much easier to successfully follow the Olympic Games.
After a long day of work the day prior to the marathon, I wasn’t going to wake up at 5 in the morning to watch it. This didn’t stop me from seeing Meb slip at the finish line and do a few pushups before finishing. I wasn’t able to watch the live broadcast of the men’s pole vault on the fifth day of competition, but I was able to see this video of USA’s Sam Kendricks coming to a stop in the middle of a run to stand at attention during the national anthem.
The biggest perk perhaps of using Twitter or Instagram as a source for Olympic related news is the dependability and ease that comes along with it. At the end of the day, instead of navigating through different internet searches to see who medaled, I could just go to the IAAF Twitter page and scroll through their feed to see exactly who finished where.
When it comes down to it, without social media, I wouldn’t have been able to follow the Olympics as easily as I did. I also would have missed amazing moments like this exchange between Canadian race-walker Evan Dunfee and Japanese race-walker Hirooki Arai that really capture what the Olympics are about.