We’ve seen London 2012 come and go and it’s hard to argue with the fact that it made quite the splash. With Team GB (@teamGB) achieving above and beyond at every turn it was hard not to get swept up in Olympic fever, and users of social media were no exception.
For the last two weeks the social web has been dominated by stories of triumph and disaster from across the events – with a few other surprises along the way.
Firstly the athletes. Not many people will have known the likes of Katherine Copeland (@kate_copeland) before the Olympics but now her, and many athletes like her, will have found their Twitter feeds filled with messages of congratulations and a whole host of new followers. All well and good until you look at the abuse Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994) and other athletes suffered at the hands of some vile trolls. A case of the minority spoiling it for the majority.
Team GB did a great job of keeping us informed and making all of Britain feel like part of the team. Keeping us updated with stories of success, posting snaps of athletes and events and encouraging us all to get behind the team. Kudos to whoever was in charge of their social media – they got it right.
The athletes didn’t just sit back and watch either. Many of them tweeted their own thoughts and messages, with an image or two along the way too.
There was the funny side too. Jokes about various goings on over the two weeks. The most prominent for me was the creation of the ‘McKayla Maroney is not impressed’ meme. This meme has taken the internet by storm and even has it’s own Tumblr blog. What was particularly great about this meme is that McKayla (@McKaylaMaroney) saw the funny side, joining in herself.
The BBC’s team of presenters got in on the act too with Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) and Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) tweeting behind the scenes shots and their own comments on the games.
Then there was Ian Thorpe (@IanThorpe). Ian made a splash with his refreshing approach to punditry for the BBC. He delivered his opinions in a well-thought-out manner and tried to see the positives in everyone’s performance. His appearances on TV were met with his name trending nationwide.
On the back of this Gary Lineker, with a little help from the British public, convinced Thorpe to join twitter. After a little resistance at first he embraced the platform and the public that held him in such high regard. What followed no one could have predicted.
Saturday, as the Olympics were closing, Thorpe posted the following:
Ok this is 4 real.i want to see the legacy for myself and jump start things before I leave. From 9am tomorrow I will be at Tooting Bec Lido
True to his word, Sunday morning saw Ian Thorpe providing swimming lessons to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. A moment that will be remembered long after the embers of the Olympic torch have faded. Lord Coe (@sebcoe) had always said that these games were all about inspiring a generation and Thorpe has certainly done that.
Last but by no means least there was The Bolt, Usain Bolt (@usainbolt). Or should that be #bolt? He’s inspired a generation of athletes ever since he swaggered onto the stage in Beijing and made athletics ‘cool’. His laid back attitude had everyone talking. The big #blakeorbolt debate dominated social media channels too, with Bolt ultimately taking the glory. How could you not get wrapped up in Bolt fever?
Despite not being at any of the events social media gave me, and many others like me, a sense of inclusion. A sense that I was there. We were there holding our collective breaths as Anthony Joshua’s (@anthonyfjoshua) Gold was appealed, we were there when Jade Jones (@jadejonestkd) became the first British olympian to win taekwando Gold and we were there roaring Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) home. That’s what social media should be about. Community. Bringing people together. London 2012 certainly achieved that.