Social Media at the Vancouver Olympic Games

A lot has changed in the social media scene since the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008. More than twice as many of us are using Facebook around the world, there are over 200 million blogs and over 70% of people in North America who have Internet access are using social media. This year’s Olympics in Vancouver is set to be the first to offer full streaming coverage online. Its also being dubbed the first Twitter Olympics. For the first time ever, in addition to the Olympic coverage through the official media channels, we will be able to experience the Olympics through the eyes of the people.

A consortium of Vancouver social media trailblazers have been trying, since Beijing, to encourage the Olympic committee to embrace social media journalism but their open letters to VANOC have all but been ignored. Not to be deterred, this group has gone about setting up and supporting media houses like True North Media house and Vancouver Access 2010: forums designed to bring together people who want to contribute and share content on and about the Olympics.

True North Media House is a media collaboration campaign to encourage social coverage of major events, highlight emerging media and provide a venue for discussing the increasing use of social media in society, particularly at events of global importance like the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver Canada. Anyone can take part, you just need to get accredited. Contributors include photographers, videographers, bloggers – there’s even a 5 year old self accredited reporter!

Vancouver Access 2010 is a collection of multi-media content; blog posts, pictures and videos covering the various winter/summer sports and cultural events during the past several games include Torino, Italy in 2006 and Beijing, China in 2008. They are currently busy creating content for Vancouver 2010.

I talked with Kris Krug who is one of founders the of these projects. He said that despite the lack of support from the Olympic committee, everyone else has welcomed their initiatives with open arms. As a result social media houses have proliferated across the city.

So, these Olympics are indeed going to be different. We will be able to follow and support the athletes on social media, we will, no doubt, all be tuned to our TV’s as usual but this time we have another source of content and that will be live from the people on the ground here in Vancouver bringing their experiences and view points.

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