As the Summer Olympics take place every four years, with the last happening this last year in Rio de Janeiro, I have decided to compare how social media first impacted the 2012 London games and then to the Rio Olympics compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics that took place almost a decade ago. When we look at the games in 2008, we see that Twitter was founded in 2006, and Facebook in 2004. With that being said, social media was only in its infancy during the 2008 Olympic games. In fact, from Beijing to the London games, internet users doubled to about 2.3 billion users, Facebook went from 100 million to 900 million users, and Twitter had an increase of traffic from 300000 tweets per day to 400 million.
Also during the 2012 games, Twitter introduced the “reply” function allowing fans and rivals alike to converse as the games went on. Rather than the Olympics having to rely on television advertisements, the Olympic committee was able to post their ads on social media, in which in 2012 was watch about 25 million times on YouTube. Another aspect of how social media has impacted the Olympics is how the athletes interact with their fans now compared to how they were not able to in previous years. For example, just this last year, 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak won over the hearts of Canadians as she dominated in swimming. From just a girl known for having a brother in the NHL, Jamie, Penny became a household name in just days. Without the data from social media and the praise she got publically from many around the world, people may not understand how popular she was during the course of the games. The Olympics are always a staple in homes around the world when the time comes, but with new age media, we are able to see how popular and how engaging the game can be.