Twitter goes for Olympic gold

Hell breaks loose today. For a couple of weeks, 14.700 athletes are competing in 26 Olympic Sports and 20 Paralympic Sports, in front of 21.000 journalists and over 10.8 million ticket-holders. After tennis in Wimbledon, and the Tour de France, the Olympic Games are going to aggressively take over, cannibalizing most media coverage for the time to come.

Global top sport is our panem et circenses, our bread and games; London is our Coliseum. Old gladiators will falter, new young wolves will eagerly struggle for world domination, most will fail miserably.  Cheaters will be publicly lynched, superheroes will be born overnight, and humanity is hoping for some serious drama and catharsis.

The Games are heaven for the sports lover, but a nightmare for someone who is not interested. But fan or not, you will experience the 2012 London Games. Sweaty, good looking youngsters will be all over screens, radio waves and social media channels. Infographics will total the medals per country, color and gender ; 3D boosted graphs will show how humanity just got faster, stronger, better and generally enhanced.

While all media are competing for their share of the cake, it is already apparent that the big media winner of these games is going to be Twitter.  True, TV is still the old and uncontested King of Games. But Twitter moves in for Olympic gold. Tweets can be shot from the hip, while mobile: it’s lightning fast, lovely short. For weeks teams, athletes and sport influencers have been polishing up their twitter channels, and established twitter rules and protocols. London is ready for a media war, and the weapon of choice is Twitter.

The first human casualty was already sent home in a virtual bodybag: Greek triple-jumper Voula Papachristou was ejected from the Greek Olympic team for a bad racist joke. The Hellenic Olympic Committee said through AP that Papachristou was “placed outside the Olympic team for statements on Twitter contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.” Isidoros Kouvelos, head of Greece’s Olympic mission, added, “We are not here just to get medals, but to promote the Olympic ideals, to show our character.  It’s the same as violating fair play.”

Twitter is deeply entwined in the Olympic 2012 fabric, proving Twitter CEO Costolo right in his endeavors to position it more as a platform than as a service, with a special focus on events and gatherings.  Costolo positions his Twitter as the ideal social platform to make an offline event vibratingly  live online. The Twitter buzz around the Olympic Games will be one of the proof points for Twitters current valuation of over 8.5 billion dollar. The stream of tweets that will be generated during the Games puts the San Francisco based company in direct competition with all other media companies.  Twitter certainly getting a big part of the coverage will push advertisers and marketers into looking at the former micro blogging service in a very different way.  Proven reach, engagement and readership can and will be cashed in hard marketing dollars.    “We don’t have any problem, we don’t think, monetizing Twitter. Period,” Dirk Costolo said to the Wall Street Journal.

While the Twitter Golden boys dream of cash, the Olympic athletes dream of gold.  But their lives just got more complicated. Before, you had to jump far, run hard, fly high and be able to playback your national anthem with a misty smile. Now you also need to Tweet well. Coaches, journalists and decision makers are analyzing tweets, and if they do not like what they read, there will be hell to pay.

2012 – The End of The World!

You know, I can predict the future. Every morning, I predict the day will end with dusk and dark. And, using my best Nostradamus skills, I predict a lot of New Age craziness on my favorite social networks this year. It will dwarf all talking of Michael Jackson’s death, Obama’s election, and Paris Hilton‘s underwear: the 21-12-12 frenzy.  The Mayan calendar,  you know, it maxes out end of this new year, when a huge astronomic line-up is due, and the Black Hole planet Nibiru will doom us all into the next solar maximumWe’re doomed. We’re going to die.
Before you start maxing out your credit cards to go with a bang, hold your horses. First of all: Yes, the Long Count Calendar reaches the end of its round…. Only, it is not Mayan…  it’s Olmec.  Nowhere in Olmec or Mayan history is the end of the world mentioned. … but the end of an era.  After our calendar year 2011 was “up” and “over”, luckily we could start a new count in 2012. When the figures on the mileage counter of your car reach 99999 miles, it starts over again. So does the Olmec Long Count.  The ancient Mayas even thought it was the reason for a huge celebration…
There are even multiple references in as well Olmec as Mayan inscriptions referring to dates way beyond the turning of the long wheel (well, ellipse is more correct ;-)). B’ak’tun 13  is not the end of time.  In fact, there are inscriptions leaping forward to October 21st 4772 AD.  We should be fine. For the moment. I think.
The cosmic line-up is another doomsday reference….  It’s been said that on 21.12.12 the Sun will lign up precisely with the Galactic Equator on the 2012 winter solstice, the precision and slight wobbling of the earth all thrown in a mix that predicts overheating of the earth’s electromagnetic capacities, prompt polar reverses and mayor catastrophes.  Too bad that neither the Olmec nor the Mayas refer anywhere to the Milky Way. No inscriptions, no tailored calendar.  Most unfortunately, even today, no one knows even remotely where the exact equator of the Galaxy is… the Galaxy still mostly being very much uncharted and unknown… what we do know is that the accepted equator did indeed  align most precisely  with the exact center of the Sun, only….. this occurred  already  on October 27, 1998.
So… I’m going out widely on one limp here: we will be fine! The world will not end, just yet. Trust me, I’m a consultant. If you DO fear 21.12.12… Porter Novelli, the company I work for, offers great crisis communications advice. Now is the time to get your end-of-life-as-we-know-it-messaging right. Contact me for end-of-time prices.  It might be your last chance to spend your budget wisely ;-).


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