Every four years, the Olympics unite the globe in two weeks of sport. London 2012 offered the world the opportunity to be part of history.
Michael Phelps became the greatest ever Olympian, Usain Bolt confirmed that he’s still the fastest man on earth, and Team GB, the home nation, had their best Olympics ever. Social media was flooded with chatter on London 2012 and people were watching the games like never before.
Despite being held in one of the busiest cities in the world, the Olympics were a huge success – with many thanks to the 70,000 volunteers who helped with the games. Social media and customer service both shone as winners for this year's Olympic spirit.
How social was London 2012?
Sports are always going to be social; people unite together to cheer on their team, celebrate their wins, and mourn their losses. At this year’s Olympic Games, viewers in the United States watched the events in a completely new way, and used social media to connect to other viewers:
- Twitter saw traffic coming in at 80,000 tweets per minute when Usain Bolt won the 200-meter sprint.
- Criticisms went social with #NBCFail trending throughout the United States. It allowed viewers frustrated with NBC’s delayed broadcasts to join together and voice their opinions. However, by the end of the games 76% of people said that NBC’s coverage in America was excellent or good.
- NBC allowed cable users to live-stream all of the competition events, with nearly 1 in 10 people in America registering a device on the website.
- An estimated 20% of American viewers watched the Olympics on more than one screen at a time, and viewership was up 12% from the Beijing coverage.
- Many viewers in the United States found out competition results on Facebook and Twitter before the event aired on NBC. Surprisingly, knowing the results ahead of when NBC aired the games in primetime led people to watch more.
How did everything run so smoothly throughout London?
International Olympic Committee boss Jacques Rogge hit the nail on the head at the Closing Ceremony when he told the British people, “You have shown the world the best of British hospitality.” But what was happening at the Olympics that was making the atmosphere so inviting?
- The Olympic workforce included 70,000 volunteers – chosen from 250,000 original applicants.
- The 2000 Olympics in Sydney also used volunteers and the national mood increased for the duration of the whole of the games.
- Volunteers saw their selection as an honor. Many of them were looking to be part of the Olympics because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- Service carried out by volunteers is different than those who are being paid. Volunteers are driven by passion, rather than money. These volunteers wanted to be working at the Olympics – they didn’t have to be. The key to a successful workforce is being able to motivate paid employees in the same way as volunteers.
London 2012 was the most social Olympic Games that the world has ever seen – for now. They were wonderfully social, and certainly deserve a medal for their high level of service. Now all we can do is wait for Rio 2016 to do it all again!
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