My Twitter Olympics

I wasn’t particularly excited about the Olympics. It seemed so London-centric and the insane concessions to sponsors pretty much disgusted me. While I am a fan of a fair few sports the Olympics has never really been something I engaged with so I fully expected to give it a bit of a wide berth and catch up on my reading and a few movies!

That simply wasn’t to be the case though and Twitter has a big part to play in that change. I had no intention of watching the opening ceremony but the buzz on Twitter (albeit much of it sarky!) convinced me to watch for a minute. I got so sucked in I was still watching when the Paul McCartney butchered ‘Hey Jude’.

I woke up the next day with a new found enthusiasm for the event and like many people I imagine I settled down to watch the cycling. With the BBC entirely failing to offer any helpful commentary it was Twitter that explained to me what the hell was happening (a theme in days to come as I embraced various new sports!).

Twitter had swiftly become one huge ‘backchannel’ for the Games with all sorts of people exhibiting previous unknown knowledge about various sports and athletes. It feels a little like SXSW used to when it dominated Twitter but 1000s of times bigger (and less full of social media douchebags being retweeted!).

From day one Twitter managed to put itself at the centre of things – starting off with more proof that the Tory party is full of clueless idiots, being blamed for the useless coverage of the cycling, massively mishandling a ranting journalist, evidence that some young people today are too stupid to be allowed online, national heroes celebrating, Greek athletes getting sent home for racism and huge amounts of athletes engaging with their fans – I was particularly pleased to get a tweet from Louise Jukes after I discovered my namesake played for TeamGB Handball.

I still have no interest in sailing or anything to do with horses but I’ve learned a huge amount about alot of other sports from just my usual Twitter community and I’ve enjoyed the fact that people have retained the ability to be cynical about the organisation and politics of the Olympics while positive and supportive of the athletes. No mean feat in of itself.

My Twitter stream was touched with sadness as well though when it became clear that many of the people I know on there were friends with the cyclist who was killed by the Olympic bus. It seems he himself was active on Twitter and my sympathies are with all who knew him.