Twitter has become a much appreciated communication tool over the past five years. I’m excited to see how far social media is going beyond connecting to friends. In the past year alone we’ve seen very unique developments in social. To shortly name a
- The 2011 Egyptian revolution
- Osama Bin Laden’s raid live blogged
- Tweeting during surgery
- London riots
The 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London are following suit; the locker room conversations are going public! The committee have announced that competing athletes are free to tweet during the competition. I think this will increase the ratings and it will allow fans to know how the experience might feel like from the participants’ perspective as they read their favorite Olympics athletes’ tweets. Twitter users already generate a massive amount of activity. With the Olympic players joining in I’m predicting records will be shattered.
Sports in the United Kingdom play an important role in British culture, and many people make an emotional investment in their favourite sports. Social media is a great tool to express one another’s thoughts on sports and share opinions. 32% of British social media users think the most popular reason for consumers to follow a brand via social media is to feel ‘part of a group’.
Social Media in Sports – Side Effects
Social Media in Sports has also gone wrong in a many occasions which have resulted in fines, suspensions and possible bans of Twitter. If used carelessly Twitter could instantly thorn the tweeter’s reputation. This is where the Olympic players can learn from and avoid uproars some of their fellow athletes have caused such as:
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney threatening a Twitter user who had been abusive, although he said it was a joke later.
Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny joking at Chelsea player Ashley Cole after an embarrassing penalty miss. He tweeted: “Tweeps what do you think Ashley was aiming for when he took his penalty?” Followed by: “Is it an aeroplane? No, its just ashley throwing Chelsea out of the fa cup ”
Rugby player Danny Care’s criticism of the referee on Twitter possible causing a ban for the England players.
According to experts the blame is to be put on a lack of social media training. Personally I think it’s just common sense to watch what you’re putting out there as a well-known individual and possibly even a role model who represents a large association. Athletes in general use a lot of PR during interviews and they’re professional. Just because there is nobody in front of you asking questions, doesn’t mean they don’t have access to what you’re putting out there.
Suggestions for Olympic players
One point of contact
The World Cup’s twitter page not only holds information about the tournament, but it also pulls out the top tweets which gathers World Cup tweets from roughly 150 players, journalists, organizations, and sites. Hashtags such as #fifa and #worldcup were used to keep the tweets organized and also specific country tags e.g. #eng for England. This method worked very well, because Twitter users are already used to tweeting with hashtags, so it was easily implemented. The site has over 10.000 followers. It’s a much easier way to follow the games through the athlete’s perspective, rather follow each of the participants one-by-one.
Tweeting-athletes.com is also a great center point to find all athletes who are active on Twitter. It’s a fast growing site and has had recognitions from different sports organizations and blogs. It’s also reliable and practical as they verify the authenticity of each athlete account.
A lot of athletes went on Twitter before the Olympic players and had some of the side effects that liveblogging can bring. Here are some suggestions for the Olympic participants to stay save and ways to better make use of it.
These are some basic ‘rules’ that may help avoiding controversy:
- Don’t TUI (tweeting under influence)
- Don’t TUE (tweeting under emotions)
- Tweet facts, not rumours
- TTT (Think Twice before Tweeting)
Make Your Life Easier
Some social media tools for convenient uploading and managing:
- Friend or Follow — comprehensible overlook on mutual friends, followers and who isn’t following back
- Socialcam — a simple way to upload media content from smart phones
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics I mostly followed Track and Field with superfast Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell. I can already imagine what Bolt would be tweeting “I beat the world record 4 years ago, let’s see what I can do with 4 years of training LEGO”. Or Powell “Bolt is my dude, but I can’t let that young cat beat me again”. Lol, wouldn’t that be
exciting. Either way I’m thrilled to see who will participate in Twitter and what will be going on in their minds while attempting to go for Gold.