London 2012: The first social media Olympic Opening Ceremony


There has been a lot of talk about how London 2012 is the first social media Olympics, but did you notice just how much this concept was embedded into the Opening Ceremony?

First of all, behind every audience members’ seat was a personalized ‘pixel’ device, which they were asked to utilize and create ‘user generated content’ in the ceremony itself. Even the official media guide for the Opening Ceremony says there are no spectators; everyone participates.

Also, in the final main section of the Ceremony, a social media love story became the backdrop for the spectacle, where a modern day Charlie Chaplin pursued his girl using mobile phones, text messages, and social media messaging.

The final straw was the presence of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide web, who appeared at the end of this segment, as if he was the architect of the entire modern day society we had just witnessed developing before our eyes.

Evidently, he was even tweeting from his desk during his appearance within the ceremony, including references to the World Wide Web Consortium and the Web Foundation. These two references aligned with the ceremony’s foregrounding of important social concerns, not least of which is free communication.

At the end of the sequence, Berners-Lee’s infamous words ‘This is for everyone’, referring to the World Wide Web, were displayed via the pixels in the crowd.

As a lot of Canadians remind us, Vancouver 2010 was also a social media Olympics and can really claim being the first. However, nobody can contest that London 2012 was the first to make it a social media Opening Ceremony!

This post was first published in Metro