100 days until London 2012

Today marks the milestone that it is now 100 days to the Olympic games in London. These milestones are a little artificial as the 100-days-to-go mark really means nothing other than it’s getting close now, but as the people of London have been waiting for seven years I guess you could say that being in double-digit days until the start is worth celebrating.

I would like to draw your attention to something that I find really interesting about the London Olympic games – that it will be the first time there is a truly social online Olympic event. I know that Beijing was in 2008 and social networking was being used then, but it was not as common as it is now. Four years ago most people were only just getting started with Facebook – unless they really were early adopters.

And the biggest difference between then and now is the explosion of mobile computing – smart phones. The Apple iPhone has changed the world and yet it was only a year old at the time of the Beijing games. Now we are up to the fourth generation Apple device and Google have released Android – the smart phone with a built-in camera connected to the Internet is now ubiquitous.

So why does this matter?

Can you remember the football world cup in South Africa in 2010? Instead of being purely led by the broadcasters, it was just as much fun to follow what people were saying about the games online. Now scale that up across dozens of Olympic events and I think we are about to see the biggest ever online conversation about sport – billions of people engaged online by the events taking place in London. I saw one commentator guessing that at the end of the 100m sprint in London, as many as a million smart phone photos might be uploaded within minutes – from people inside the stadium using their phone or Samsung tablet device.

That is a big change to the previous model of passive TV consumption and it could change how people interact with these enormous events – not least how advertising fits into this type of event in future. I know that I have already started following the online chatter and I’m looking forward to more. At Teleperformance we operate in 49 countries so it’s easy to find someone interested in sport – though we might not agree on which team to support in London this year!

London 2012 mascots on new Olympic Stadium track

Photo by the Department for Culture Media and Sport licensed under Creative Commons

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