Changing the “Games”: The First Social Media Olympics

As followers of this blog know, we often bring you updates regarding the ever-changing world of social media – in particular, how it affects attorney ethics or judicial proceedings, or how it is used by financial services industry participants. Here, as the closing ceremonies for this year’s London Olympics have recently ended, we pause to reflect how the popularity of social media has “changed the game,” resulting in the world’s first “Social Media Olympics.”

The 2012 summer games mark the first time that journalists, competitors, and fans have used social media to “broadcast” the Olympics. Here are a few global highlights from this year’s “Social Media Olympics” — some good and some bad:

  • Twitter shut down a journalist’s Twitter account after the journalist criticized NBC’s delayed coverage of the Olympics, stating that the journalist violated Twitter’s usage terms when he included a top NBC’s executive work e-mail address in his Tweet;
  • British diver Tom Daley re-Tweeted an offensive Tweet he received from a “fan” claiming that Daley let his father down with his performance; it is well-known that Daley’s father died of cancer last year;
  • Competitors from Switzerland and Korea were expelled from competition after using Twitter to post racial remarks aimed at other competitors;
  • American soccer star Hope Solo engaged in a Twitter attack against a former competitor who criticized the team’s performance;
  • Competitors, including such gold medalists as Michael Phelps and Gabby Douglas, used Twitter to thank their fans or comment on the games;
  • ABC’s popular morning news program, Good Morning America, reviewed some of the competitors’ Tweets each morning in order to keep its audience updated “in real time” about the competitors’ sentiments; and
  • We can’t forget the U.S. Olympic swim team’s viral YouTube video lip-synching to the pop song, “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

The use of social media at this year’s games only highlights what this blog has reiterated for several years: social media isn’t going anywhere, so stay tuned here before you get left behind!

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