Olympic fever hits Facebook
Facebook has unveiled its new Olympics portal, Explore London 2012, which it hopes will help fans across the world get closer to the Games.
This new way to interact with London 2012 could provide worldwide appeal to those fans without tickets, with Facebook incorporating details from many official athlete pages, as well as the pages of each sport's association.
Currently, just 250 of the 10,000 competing athletes have their pages listed on the portal, including Team GB competitors such as Jessica Ennis and Tom Daley, but such is the draw of Facebook that it can only be a matter of time until more are added.
Social media and the Olympics
Social media use has become a much talked-about issue in the run-up to the Olympics, with much made of the various restrictions imposed on both spectators and athletes by the authorities. Sponsors and broadcasters have paid millions to be part of the festivities in London this summer, and this directly affects what can and can't be shared online.
The situation for social media users has in fact improved as the Olympics draw nearer. Until recently, sharing photographs of the event was banned, but this has now been lifted. Filming remains forbidden, with Olympic chiefs keen to avoid infringing the rights of television companies that have invested so much in order to broadcast the event. Athletes must also be careful not to say anything that may upset paying sponsors of their team or the Games as a whole.
Given the number of visitors expected to flock to this new interactive Olympic hub, it is perhaps surprising that Facebook has decided not to include any advertising on the page. This means the focus will be entirely on the shared pictures and stories of those participating, either on the track or in the stands.
With other platforms such as Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare also running their own pages, a huge spike in social media activity is expected as the action gets underway in the capital.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "You wouldn't expect Facebook to let an opportunity as big as the Olympics pass it by, and this portal should bring millions of visitors its way. With so many restrictions on what can and can't be shared, this could be the best way to get the inside track on the Games."