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Twitter, Facebook and smartphone technology will turn London 2012 into the biggest social media event ever. Alex Miller reports from the Socialympics panel debate on the implications.
The world's biggest sporting event takes place in London this summer, and there's no question that the Olympic Games will be the key topic of conversation for the world's two billion social network users.
To put that number into perspective, there were only approximately 100 million people on social networks during the Beijing Games in 2008. And during the Athens Games four years before that, there were barely any social network users at all, with Facebook very much in its infancy and Twitter and Pinterest still years from launch.
So, for fans, athletes and brands alike, London 2012 will be the first truly social Olympics. With that in mind, we kicked off London Social Media Week at Engine by holding the Socialympics, a panel debate that provided a platform to assess the impact social media will have on London 2012. Here's what came out of it.
Even though he's a writer for one of the country's biggest newspapers, Paul Kelso of The Telegraph nailed it when he said: 'Twitter is going to be the de facto news delivery service for the 2012 Games.'
The buzz around the Olympics is already taking place primarily in the social space, with 48 per cent of all online mentions of London 2012 occurring on the most popular social networks. As you would expect, Twitter is the most popular site for Olympics buzz, closely followed by Facebook.
Traditional news outlets are lagging behind. Even relatively fringe platforms such as Google+ and Tumblr are home to greater London 2012 buzz than the BBC or The Guardian websites.
So, what type of figures can we expect? A quick look at the US shows us that during the Super Bowl, there were 12,000 Tweets per second at peak moments. London 2012 should easily exceed that figure. This could be a problem for …