The Harvard Business Review has a good article on how social media is impacting coverage of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. It’s worth a read.
Right now, Vancouver is in the world spotlight. We, at AHA, have an office in Vancouver and have been watching with interest on how the games are being covered by both traditional and social media.
How information is reported has changed drastically. While social media was in play during the Summer Games in Beijing, it’s now two years later and Vancouver is a much freer society than Beijing. Those who support the games—and those who don’t—now have the opportunity to put forward their opinions, to report on the games and discuss the events happening in communities throughout the Lower Mainland.
From a purely consumer-driven point of view, social media has made the Winter Games and the events surrounding them more interesting to me. I have learned about several different restaurants, coffee houses and shops that, even thought I am in Vancouver, I didn’t know about.
I am following real-time updates and, even when I am in my office working, I feel more connected to the games and my city. When tragedy struck and Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a training run at Whistler, social media allowed me to find a human connection and to share the grief I felt. When Canadian freestyle skier Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada’s first ever gold on Canadian soil, I could turn to social media to celebrate with fellow Canucks coast to coast. It makes for a much different experience.
It will be interesting to see the overall impact of social media on the games, on tourism and on those of us who live here, but don’t always know what to do, where to go and what to enjoy.