Although I love using the internet, I have never been a great fan, or indeed seen the point, of social media. However, up to a point, I have changed my mind. When I was asked by my office to blog my Olympic experience I decided to use Twitter and Facebook too. Both became valuable tools in keeping me up to speed with what was going on at the Games; who was doing what; how long the lines were at the zipline on Robson Square, the Mint and the Olympic Superstore; and if it was going to snow at Whistler.
My office kindly gave me a Blackberry for use while I was at the Games and I loaded on WordPress, Twitter and Facebook, which were all linked together. This wee gadget in my hand provided me with all I needed when I was out and about to update my blog and keep updated on Games news.
I enjoyed writing this blog when in Canada but I will confess that sometimes it did feel like homework at the end of a long day. I was always aware that people back home were looking to find out what I had been up to and I felt obliged to maintain and provide some sort of update. Some days were easier than others because some days my work was the same with no points of interest. Other times were easier to write about or seemed a bit more interesting (to me anyway).
I have had a lot of good feedback to my blog. People have written to me from many countries to thank me for doing my blog and keeping them informed about my activities and views on the Games. As I write, my blog has had just over 23,000 hits which astonishes me but it is really good know that my efforts have been noticed and others have been taking an interest…thank you to all.
Unfortunately, as per the nature of the internet, I also received some inappropriate comments from a number of anonymous sad people. I am thankful for WordPress’s moderating facility.
Twitter is a great source of information, especially if you ‘follow’ the right ‘Tweeter’. I follow most things to do with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Vancouver, Whistler, BC, Canada, Team GB and other relevant areas of interest. I also follow other bloggers and Games-related Tweeters.
I will admit that I not totally into the workings of Twitter but find it interesting that when someone I am following re-tweets a piece of information to their followers and then it re-tweets again and some well-known names appears with their comments. Seeing the names of the Governor General of Canada, Lindsey Vonn or Joannie Rochette appear on my Twitter is odd and fascinating.
Although the accident had been reported on the news, I read somewhere that someone on Twitter was first to deliver the sad news to the world that Nodar Kumaritashvili, the luger from Georgia, had died while training at the Whistler Sliding Centre, before it made the news. I heard about this tragic news from my cousin by the old fashion telephone method, mind you I was using a mobile phone while sitting on the Canada Line.
Facebook allowed me to keep up to date with my Team 2010 colleagues and other information from home.
I also had my laptop with me and I did three live interviews on CBC News which were all broadcast using the webcam and Skype. I also did a live telephone interview with Radio Scotland from my cousin’s house in Vancouver . She sat in the next room listening to me via Radio Scotland’s website. You gotta love technology!
There is no doubt that technology now plays a huge part in major events such as the Games. Athletes can send messages to their fans, the media picks up any tidbits of news and write an easy news article in their paper or blog based on what the athlete wrote. Celebrity blogging/tweeting makes life easy for journalists.
It is anyone’s guess what forms of communication we will be using at London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.