For the past couple of weeks, you could say there were two groups of people: Those who watched the Olympics and those who followed the Olympics. Not all watchers were followers, but it's safe to say most followers were probably watchers as well. And while some of the followers may have been bored (or irate) by the tape delays that aired on NBC prime time, they still had front row seats to some unprecedented online action. Even if you weren't on nbcolympics.com trying to catch the live streams, it was impossible to miss the amazing shenanigans happening all over the web.
Just a few favorites:
And then there was Twitter. If you're like us and wanted to truly participate in the play-by-plays, it was probably your go-to spot. There were more than 150 million (!) Twitter conversations about the Olympics since the Opening Ceremonies. There were more than 2 million tweets about Gabby Douglas, as well as Ryan Lochte, and it wasn't uncommon to see celebrities tweeting at Olympians or about them:
So. While it's lovely that NBC broke their ratings -- averaging 31+ million watchers each night -- we kinda expected that, especially if you're getting a ton of free, user-generated promotion around one of the most beloved events in the world. What's genuinely exciting is that this year's overall activity by outlets, spectators, and athletes was just a taste of what's to come. By 2016, there will be even more followers instead of basic watchers, and coverage of the Olympics will be more integrated (rather than trying to straddle both old school TV practices and new media trends). As a digital director at a fitness magazine, I'm pretty pumped for 2016. I'm thinking 2012 was just a warm-up!
But until then: Thank you, Internet, for making these Olympic Games so ridiculously fun.