Olympics 2012 and Social Media: Tuning out the Buzz, Savoring the Swims

I’ve been an avid fan of social media and inbound marketing for the past four years and a news hound all of my life. But that all changed when my favorite Olympic sport of competitive swimming was being played out on the international stage all last week. Suddenly I found myself turning away from any twitter or Facebook updates after mid-day (prime time in the U.K.). Some swift radio channel changing for me throughout the day was coupled with no evening news. Why? One of my favorite parts about the once-every-four year event is piling on the couch with my family (including the dog) covering us with an enormous, plush blanket, and “swimming” every race, stroke by stroke, with these great athletes. I’m probably more fanatical than most, having swam competitively all through high school and college. I wanted to cheer and fist pump for Missy Franklin without the knowledge that she actually sealed the gold five hours before.(Granted, I did watch her fun-filled “Call Me Maybe” YouTube Video before the Olympics got underway.) I was rooting for Michael Phelps to capture gold in the 200 I.M. and 100 meter butterfly without any spoilers letting me know the final results. Clearly I was not alone. When I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal last week I felt a camaraderie of spirit. There were others of all ages out there who gently held their fingers to their ears when the conversation turned Olympian. They too wanted a shared experience in the living room rather than a solitary one at the computer.

“Don’t tell me any results if you know them,” I would gently warn anyone who started speaking to me about the the doings in London. “I want to watch swimming tonight with my family.” Now that it’s over I’ve gone to Michael Phelps’ twitter feed and seen his gorgeous girlfriend. I’ve added Missy’s photo to my Pinterest page.

Four years from now who knows how the Olympics will be broadcast to us from Rio?  TV as we know it will likely go the way of the typewriter. But for the 2012 Olympics, I still enjoyed watching Phelps and cheering on TeamUSA surrounded by my family, and perhaps being one of the few in America who didn’t already know the ending.


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