The Social Olympics: A Look Back at Rio
With every major news station, blogger and self-pronounced Olympic commentator reporting on the Games of the 31st Olympiad, it seemed as if we were getting an extensive look into the events. However, it was that behind the scenes coverage that provided us with a new perspective into this memorable time. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and now, Snapchat, gave us a closer look than ever before.
Four years ago in London, social media was used as a new medium to engage audiences, but although its popularity was widely felt by number of shares and posts, these platforms weren’t as engaging as they are now. Snapchat, the most personal and interactive of the sharing applications, debuted as a new player in the 2016 Games. Watching the countries walk across the stadium during the opening ceremony, I couldn’t help but notice how the participants were holding their phones high, documenting this unbelievable moment; with front-facing, selfie cameras ready to capture memories. In essence, the reoccurring theme of social media in this year’s Olympic Games was depicted by the large amounts of #Rio2016 content trending on these platforms.
Social media makes sharing moments and daily activities with family and friends more fun and from a business standpoint; users understand that it is a valuable marketing tool. Content from all these competitors created a net of consumption that allowed marketers to harness this interest and target a direct audience. The constant documentation of the Olympics let fans know what was happening, it generated interest about individual participants and thus deepened the connection between fan and athlete. Increased presence on these social media platforms made for more relatable Olympians.
Sparked interest in athletes made them social influencers long before their faces ever made it on to a box of Wheaties! Today’s audience wanted to know what these individuals were doing before they had to perform; a behind the scenes look into their personal lives, stories and everyday activities in the Olympic village prior to their events. We have never seen the Olympics from this perspective before.
People conversed and live-chatted on Twitter, athletes shared intimate content on Instagram and Snapchat, and news about the events spread rapidly on Facebook. Overall, from television’s large scale reporting to social media’s short yet direct coverage, Rio 2016 has given us all a 360-degree Olympic view.
By: Agustina Goldbaum
photo credit: AFP