The London Olympics are set to be liked, tweeted, pinned and shared with more people than ever before as athletes, fans and organisers interact online in the first-ever social media Summer Olympics.
Sportspeople and those overseeing the event are using social networks to communicate with legions of netizens mainly on Twitter, which has 140 million active users, and the 901-million-strong Facebook.
But the sheer scale of this relatively new medium has brought up a host of challenges for organisers and national teams.
Already athletes have been given social media bans and juicy details of the opening ceremony have leaked online.
"This is going to be absolutely huge," said Ian Maude, an Internet analyst at research group Enders Analysis.
"Pretty much every event is going to be broadcast live, streamed to the Internet and a lot of that is going to end up being shared with friends, linked to, discussed on social media platforms far more so than anything before."
In the four years since the Beijing Olympics, the global number of social media users has exploded, as has the amount of people with smartphones.
As such, the London event will generate unprecedented scrutiny -- a fact the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is capitalising on with initiatives such as a social media hub that links Internet users with athletes.
Olympians themselves are commenting online in real time on their social media pages, allowing regular netizens to get an insight into their lives -- and sometimes characters in a way that was not previously possible.
US hurdler Lolo Jones, for instance, is huge on Twitter thanks to a mix of funny comments, interaction with her 168,500-plus followers and juicy announcements such as her revelation that she is a virgin.
BdST 2046 HRS, JUL 25, 2012
Sabbin Hasan, ICT Editor
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