Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Visual pageant and Web 3.0 the case of #London2012

Map of social media content around Olympic Village

We are observing the following about use of mobile social media technology in the Olympic Village:

  • Tweeting levels are high and concentrated, but not extremely high for London.  In fact we have seen much more tweeting coming from protests in Madrid recently than at any point in the Olympic park.  People are certainly tweeting, but not at levels higher than concerts or other events.
  • We are seeing very high levels of Foursquare checkins, some of the highest we have ever seen.  Over 200 people were checked in at one point during the opening ceremony.  That is still less than one in 400 people, but that is actually fairly high.  This has been some of the most active use of foursquare we have ever seen and mark a major milestone for the platform.
  • Pictures!  We are seeing a flood of geo-tagged Flickr images being posted and these images are getting a lot of views.  Instagram and Facebook show the same thing: people are posting like crazy from the events.  

When you think of it this makes perfect sense.  The sociological system of an Olympic game is very different than a protest.  At a protest people come together because they have something to say.  So when over 100,000 people march on Madrid to protest austerity is it obvious people will turn to Twitter as an extent of chants and posters.  Certainly people do post mass images, but the objective of a protest is speech directed, and Twitter is an ideal medium for that.

An Olympic game is a spectacle, and as such it is to be witnessed and seen.  So people check in to Foursquare, to show that they have been there, and post images of the amazing visual event.  But like all staged spectacle there is very little to say but to acknowledge the witnessing of it.  People sure want to 'talk' about being at the Olympics, but they have precious little to 'say' about it other than 'I was there.'

This shows in the use of Web 3.0 social media, with people posting pictures and check ins in mass numbers, though they may tweet less than they might at a political protest. 

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