Technology has certainly impacted the London Olympics, in more ways than the opening ceremonies could exhibit. In several games itself, the latest equipment provide not only high-definition coverage, but also ultra slow-mo replay perfect those too-close-to call events in athletics and aquatics. But what about how social media technology is impacting the games, and the question if the games have adapted well-enough with the social media climate of today?
Interestingly, the Olympics has yet to fully harness the power of social media. If anything, broadcasters are tooblame. In an era where society lives in public, particularly online, the games are hardly noticeable in the cybersphere. Yes, Twitter is always there for live updates, and live score channels proliferate (so much in fact that GPS Signals in the games failed) but live streaming has been a major downside to what is considered as some of the most watched events in the world.
Copyright laws have prevented the Olympics from reaching the digital audience. Many live streams are exclusive to certain territories – like the US, Canada and Europe. The official website of the London Olympics itself has no links to where you can watch the games online. The few websites you can go offer faster streaming but obviously for a price. Free streams pop up here and there, but sooner than the games start, they’re taken down.
Should the London Olympics have embraced social media more? It certainly could have harnessed the immense power of the medium in delivering updates, links, videos, and other multimedia materials. The website is helpful when it comes to schedules but many online viewers are left disappointed missing out on many events. Local broadcasters stick to a schedule, and can only broadcast so many events at a time. Simultaneous viewing, possible through online means, hasn’t been as friendly as many people would have wanted the Olympics to be.
A huge event like this could have made more impact, partnering with the big online guns, like YouTube and Facebook, in delivering digital content. Instead, many viewers are left to choose between the off-chance the games they want to watch being previewed or trying their luck looking for live streams with good coverage. Big events best watched live are delayed for primetime broadcasts too, making one wonder if it’s really about the viewers and the games, or it’s about the media outlets and broadcasting company’s profits?
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