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What We Can Learn About Social Media From The Olympics: Part One- Athletes

social media olympics

The first social media Olympics are here

Consider this:

  • In 2010, for the Winter Olympics, there were 370,000 tweets containing the word “Olympics” in the first weekend.
  • This year, for the Summer Olympics, there were 3.5 million tweets containing the word “Olympics” in the first weekend.

That’s a 1,040 percent increase in chatter.

Throughout the last two years, social media has been evolving the way we communicate and gather news. Social media has gone from the shiny new toy to mainstream.

Olympians are holding a very large microphone

What’s really cool about social media is that for the first time, fans have direct access to Olympians. Many of these athletes, while they are not celebrities, are new household names and are actively engaging with fans. Some of these Olympians are even hearing directly from their celebrity idols.



Unfortunately some of these athletes aren’t thinking about the impact of their voice online, and the fact that the whole world is listening. For example, a Greek track and field athlete and a Swiss soccer player were both ousted for sending racist tweets.

Others, like U.S. soccer player Hope Solo; have gained attention for airing their feelings about commentators via Twitter. It’s fair to say that these kinds of comments have always happened in private, but Twitter is very public.

PR Lesson: Everything you say on Twitter is on the record

What you Tweet from the Olympics may be what you are remembered for down the road. But this doesn’t just go for Olympians. It also goes for brands and individuals. The truth is, you never can predict what Tweets will gain public attention and what ones won’t.

Tweeting is just like talking to the media. Everything you say is on the record. If you say something inappropriate on Twitter, you are the source and you will be held accountable for your words.

Stay tuned for part two next week: What we can learn about social media from the Olympics from fans.