A recent analysis of Olympic social media found that equestrian sports led in the field in number of followers. Kate Samuels reports from the Twittersphere.
Now that the Olympics are over, and we all officially have the biggest Olympic Hangover possible, it’s time for graphs and studies and picking apart all of the knowledge that we gleaned from the Olympic experience. Within that is the newly minted social media aspect that has never been part of it before. For me, London 2012 was largely defined by the incredibly detailed and lightening fast reports we were able to access through social media. Twitter users were discovering that there is a “tweet limit”, and parts of London claimed to experience technological traffic jams due to the amount of public tweeting. This type of instantaneous access to the Games has never been a feature until now, and let me tell you, I liked it.
So, accordingly, someone did an actual study of the effect of social media. Global software company ExactTarget conducted an analysis of social media followers in the Olympic disciplines and discovered that the equestrian sports led the field (mwaahahaha!). ExactTarget found that the number of equestrian followers outstripped the traditional “big” Olympic sports, such as athletics or swimming. They then produced a graphic entitled “Socialympics and the Twitter Games” in which they laid out their results.
If you check out Twitter today, after yesterday’s Olympic closing ceremony, you’ll see that the official London 2012 Equestrian Twitter account now has 5669 followers. Athletics increased to 5939 followers, while swimming exploded with 7806 followers, but we’ll blame those results on higher levels of media exposure given to the latter two sports (no thanks to you, NBC). The modern pentathlon, which includes a showjumping component, had drawn 1499 followers by the end of the Games.
Although there was a time when #MarkTodd was trending on Twitter (due to his masterful XC, and then again due to his drunken shenanigans), and #MichaelJung positively took over my news feed, they sadly did not get the results they needed to make it onto the Most Popular Athletes list. The writing is really tiny on this photo, but it says, “ Curiously, it doesn’t appear that athletic prowess, as it is reflected by Olympic gold medals, has much to do with Twitter popularity. The most decorated are often the least followed and vice versa“.
I think the London 2012 experience would not have been half as good without our access to information, pictures, and first hand accounts through social media. Our Eventing Nation contribution of daily Social Media Roundup posts (thanks Abby!) were phenomenal, but we couldn’t have done it without the whole-hearted participation of the athletes. Those who kept tweeting and sending pictures got more screen time (think Reed Kessler, Boyd Martin, and others), and we rejoiced in our living rooms across the US, dreaming of being in London to see the sights and smell the smells of Greenwich.
How did social media enhance your experience of the Olympics? Did you finally get a Twitter account, just for the Games? Did your heart beat a little faster every time you saw a mobile picture of the grandstand in Greenwich? I know mine did. I certainly hope that broadcasters worldwide took note of the phenomenal amount of equestrian viewers online and otherwise, and that they have adjusted their expectations accordingly, because baby, we are here to stay!!
Go Olympic Equestrians!! (For the 103,000 time!!!)