Seemingly out of nowhere, the start of the London Olympic Games is now on a countdown in days, not months or years. It’s hard to get our heads around the fact that four years have already passed. Most of ask – where did those years go?! But while much has happened in swimming, athletics and other sports, here are a few other changes as food for thought in this short time period.
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that during the last Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, the social media site Twitter had 6 million users. Today, it has over 140 million. In 2008, Facebook had 100 million members. Today, the number of users is closer to one billion. In the space of four years almost 15% of the planet is on Facebook.
We can also consider it this way: “In Sydney (2000) there was hardly any fast internet, in Athens (2004) there were hardly any smartphones and in Beijing hardly anyone had social networks," said Jackie-Brock Doyle, communications director of London organising committee LOCOG. In just 12 years the Olympics have gone from a sporting event to a “social” sporting event. Athletes will be tweeted, tagged and liked at an unprecedented rate.
There is little doubt that the Olympics have truly become a global, real-time experience. Yet perhaps the most significant change is that the viewpoint will be from the athletes and spectators projecting out, rather than the reporters honing in. This is the biggest confirmation that our communication landscape has changed forever and that the importance of social connection – with friends, customers and clients – is more important than ever.
The impact of the social tidal wave is ubiquitous, from supermodels, to sporting models to business models. So it is not a matter of whether to embrace social connectivity, but how best to do it.
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