The 2012 Summer Olympics marks the first time that social media made a big splash with international sports fans. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks have seen an explosion of engagement, and even traditional media outlets like BBC Sports took part in the digital revelry.
Twitter saw over 150 million tweets during the course of the games
Twitter saw over 150 million tweets during the course of the games with notable spikes during Kobe Bryant's dunk near the end of the USA-Spain basketball game and Hope Solo's diving save during the USA-Japan soccer match. Usain Bolt commanded the highest number of tweets per minute (TPM) at more than 80,000 TPM, followed closely by Britain's Andy Murray at over 57,000 TPM. Twitter's offical blog points out that, in total, soccer was the most popular 140-character conversation piece during the games, driving over five million tweets despite spikes from superstar athletes in other sports.
Gabrielle Douglas increased her fan base by 3960 percent
While athletes have always found themselves at the center of attention during the games, a report released by Wildfire — a social media marketing firm acquired by Google — shows some athletes' Facebook followings are thousands of times larger as a result of the games. Gabrielle Douglas increased her fan base by 3,960 percent, and Marcel Nguyen grew his by 2,476 percent. Wildfire also found that 96 percent of the most popular athletes had larger followings on Facebook than Twitter, and that other top athletes gained over five times the number of followers on Facebook than they did on Twitter.
For traditional media, BBC Sports was viewed by 55 million people on both PCs and mobile devices during the games, with 37 million of of those requests coming from inside the UK. According to the company's post on BBC News, nearly 106 million requests for video content were made, while NBC reported that it exceeded 744 million pageviews earlier in the month.
Wildfire also found that 96 percent of popular athletes had larger followings on Facebook than Twitter
In the past the Olympic Games were enjoyed with close family and friends, or perhaps in a crowded sports bar, but now the ubiquity of social media has enabled fans to engage with both other fans and athletes at a level that was previously impossible. Smartphones and online video are making it easier to share in the excitement no matter where you are, and the numbers prove it. As for the results of the games, the video below has everything you need to know.