So Many Handles

15 Jun

After a few days of following a sport I previously knew little about, rowing, I realized how exciting it is to live in this age of technology and social media. A friend, who was competing in the US Olympic Trials for the event, couldn’t update me on his results as fast as I wanted. Thankfully, I found a Twitter feed (@usrowing) that was updated almost immediately following each race.

It got me thinking…

Will I be able to find my favorite sports on Twitter during the Olympic games this summer? My initial reaction to the Twitter handle @London2012 was, “Geez, this is going to be great! A way to receive up to the minute information on my phone!” but when I thought about it more, my inner dialogue changed to, “What are the implications this will have on reception of news, and information congestion?” There are just so many sports and athletes that it seemed as though the timeline would get clogged.

After a little digging, I was impressed by the thoughtfulness the Olympic media team put into their Twitter accounts. There are separate handles for separate tasks. For example, @London2012HQ, is used as a public relations tool with tweets such as, “@TeamGBR Hi all, please visit this link: http://l2012.cm/ra6xeH & RT the tweet that opens to help promote International Paralympic Day?”

There are also handles for 36 individual sports, as well as a few Paralympic sports. Although there has been no activity since the beginning of May on most of the handles, including @L2012Athletics (track and field), @L2012Football (soccer – for those of us in the United States), @L2012Volleyball and @L2012ArtGym (gymnastics), I expect that information will be constantly flowing once the London 2012 Olympic Games commence.

I was excited by the discovery of these individual sport handles, but I am also surprised and disappointed that there is little to no activity regarding the build up and preparation for the individual events. It would be nice if there was some “hype” about the athletes, entertainment, or even the facilities. Good planning is important to any successful campaign, but so is good implementation. Yes, the handles are ready, but why introduce them if there is no activity for nearly six weeks?

Let’s just hope that the media team is currently busy making other preparations (which I’m almost positive they are), and that “radio silence” doesn’t continue. I’m looking forward to see what my favorite sports have to offer up on Twitter.

(A complete list of London 2012 Olympic Game event handles can be seen on the @London2012 page background, as well as each event page background.)

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PR, Social Media, and London 2012

9 Jun

Disclaimer:

My understanding of Public Relations is limited. I am now in my third course on the subject and feel as though each time I step into a new room, with a new professor, their opinions about the scope of Public Relations practice change. Has the emergence of social media as a reliable news source created a disconnect in academia and professional circles?

During the next few weeks, I will explore the relationship between social media, public relations, and sports. It seems fitting that my graduate studies on this topic will coincide with the London Olympics, and I hope public relations practitioners will find a way to effectively utilize social media to promote stories and results from the games.

Introduction:

As many of my dearest friends know, I am a sports nut, and following the Summer Olympics has been a cherished and highly anticipated event since the United States won team gold in Gymnastics in 1996. At nine years old, I can still remember almost every moment of the broadcast because, of course, I was going to be on that team one day (when I hit 5’6″ at the age of 12, my dream took an unexpected turn, in which I would become a member of the USA Volleyball team, but that too was a phase).

During that time my family had one, very slow, computer that I used for word processing and something similar to the application “paint”. At school, our computers had green screens and weren’t particularly enticing. I logged my hours, like a little worker bee, and looked forward to kicking some poor little boys’ ass at recess. Since I was not yet old enough to enjoy reading the newspaper, I got all of my news from the shows my parents chose to watch on TV.

Today, the landscape has changed significantly. I can now get updates about my favorite teams and athletes, not only on television and in print, but from my cell phone (which is actually a tiny mobile computer that I assume operates on magic). The London Olympics media team has already set up a YouTube page, Twitter account, and Facebook profile, to allow fans access to events leading up to the opening ceremonies on July 27, 2012.

Although this video was posted 3 days ago, I think it is a great example to what all of us have to look forward to in the coming weeks…

50 days to go – London 2012 Olympics.

It demonstrates a successful convergence of social media, public relations, and the Olympic Games. Something we, as practitioners will have to keep in mind as we enter the workforce. Getting rid of the “fluff” that many people assume IS public relations, and focusing on Tweet-length messages that are clear to understand, may be essential to PR of the future – the PR of now.