The 2012 Olympics were relentlessly hyped for months as the “world’s first social games” — and, about halfway through, they haven’t disappointed. Athletes have shared the Olympic experience as never before on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, while fans have kept a running dialogue online too. We’ve covered the action from afar here at Mashable, but wanted to get an added perspective from a social media heavyweight who’s on the ground at the Games.
Enter Anthony De Rosa. He’s the social media editor for Reuters and a noted expert in the space. On Twitter, he has more than 33,000 followers and is a staple of must-follow lists around the web.
De Rosa is currently in London for Reuters, running the news service’s live blog for some 12 hours per day. But he recently found a few spare moments to answer some of our questions via email.
The biggest social media-related aspect of these Games that fans stateside may not be aware of? De Rosa says it might the level of enforcement by event officials looking to prevent Wi-Fi overload.
“They actually have people with devices that look like big megaphones that jam Wi-Fi signals of unauthorized hotspots,” he writes. “This seems like overkill but I guess they don’t want interference with other official devices. I think as we see social media as a huge part of the games as this Olympics did, they’re going to have to allow for hot spots to make it easier for people to communicate from the events.”
One of the biggest athlete-related social media stories out of London revolved around British diver and teen idol Tom Daley. After Daley disappointed in the men’s synchronized diving finals, a Twitter troll sent him a mean message referencing his recently deceased father. But then Daley used Twitter to publicly out the troll. He was later arrested on suspicion of malicious communications, to the surprise of some.
“I’m not sure most people outside of Europe knew about UK’s harassment laws and how they apply online,” De Rosa writes. “They do now.”
The most consistent Internet buzz in the States has surrounded NBC’s coverage of the Games, with many disgruntled tweeters using the #NBCFail hashtag to complain. De Rosa, who has followed the BBC’s coverage and calls it “fantastic,” says it’s hard to compare the two networks given that the NBC audience has to deal with a time difference of several hours.
So do British fans have a take on #NBCFail?
“I think Londoners are aware of the NBC thing and they sympathize with their friends in the U.S. ,” De Rosa writes, “but they’re mostly too busy enjoying the games to care much.”
Are you in London for the Summer Olympics? What role has social media played in your experience there? Share with us in the comments.