Having very vague memories of the past few Olympics in my head I wondered if it was my lack of interest in the event back then or the digital landscape that has changed tremendously since then which made this the first Olympics that I’ve ever truly engaged in.
Thinking back on the past few weeks, it has indeed been the ‘first truly digital games’. It was a combination of how we consumed the events digitally from video on demand to the widespread usage of social media and mobile technology that has shaped this truly digital experience of the 2012 Olympics.
To begin with, my Twitter feed was full of hilarious and educational comments during the 4 hour-long opening ceremony. Following that, it was constantly catching up online on the medal count every few hours a day on my phone and watching replays of my favourite events whenever I feel like it. All sorts of content about the atheletes and events surfaced on social media generating cross-country conversations or ‘online cheering’ as well as friends sharing their video clips of events they’ve recorded from the venues on their little portable devices and the list goes on.
Also, the fact that I live in London meant that I got several emails a day from the organisers as well as Transport for London telling me what’s going on and where, who’s won a medal in what, hotspots to avoid for the day, train lines that might be affected by events, road closures, souveniers that I might want to buy (probably the least exciting content of all) and the list goes on and on. This has been extremely helpful and I was wondering what would it have been like if the digital infrastructure wasn’t there to support such activities.
So by the end of the Olympics, what difference has this all made? Well, to begin with, I actually know a few athletes names and faces and the different variations of events within a specific sport. I actually managed to watch events that I’ve missed and fast forwarded it to bits that I’m interested in. I know what some athletes think about their arch rivals because I was curious and hunted for the content online but most importantly, for a person who has little interest in sports, I was genuinely impressed by how much pain and hard work has been put in by the athletes to perform the most beautiful sporting feats – something that I’ve never realised as being so inspiring before.
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