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The Olympics, Social Media and Transport – Oh my!

Lily Shanahan
Lily Shanahan

18 September 2012

Unless you’ve spent your summer on a tiny uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll already be very aware of the presence that social media had in the 2012 Olympics. Social elements were incorporated into just about every part of the Olympics – so much so that they have been acclaimed as the “most social Olympics” ever.

If you’re a regular reader of our blogs here at Tamar, you’ll already be aware of how integral a part social media played in the games, athletes and sponsorships. But, to an equal extent social media also helped to *coordinate* the entire event.

London pulled off the most spectacular show, and made even the most sceptical Brit proud to British.

So how did it all manage to go so smoothly?

To any regular tube-taker in London, 5 minutes till the next tube often feels like a long time, and “problems on the line” announcements are often met with jeers from disgruntled commuters. Something happened to London during the games – people found ways of solving problems and (contrary to the opinions of Olympic sceptics) everything ran pretty smoothly. One of the biggest contributors to this success was technology.

Underground Wi-Fi

Excitingly, Virgin Media’s next generation Wi-Fi service was made available to all tube passengers for free throughout the summer. This enabled commuters and London 2012 visitors to access up-to-date information on travel, as soon as they reached the platform. This service apparently resulted in over 8 million “moments of connection” with Wi-Fi on the London underground during the Olympic period. Virgin Media revealed that 443,000 people went online underground for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The introduction of Wi-Fi enabled us to keep update, help us be aware of problems and quickly and efficiently find new routes when required.

“WiFi at Tube stations helped keep everyone moving and entertained throughout the Games with up-to-the-minute travel information and journey planners at their fingertips” – London Underground’s director of strategy and service development , Gareth Powell

Social

I can’t imagine the event organisers had realised just how much social media would impact on the 2012 Olympics. More than 15 million people followed and participated in the Olympic experience via Twitter and other social media platforms. International Olympic committee spokesman, Mark Adams, commented: “the 2012 Olympic Games is a prime example of the rise of social media, and highlights the power and impact of this powerful medium, not to mention the speed at which it is growing.”

Everyone embraced social, even transport for London…

Transport for London and Social

Undeniably, transport in London ran a lot more successfully that it had been predicted to. I believe that this was partly due to social media. Thanks to the Olympics, TFL and the department for Transport London finally started to properly embrace twitter and the web as part of their ‘Get Ahead Of The Games‘ campaign.

The website and feeds offered visitors and Londoners up-to-date information about individual stations, routes and certain times to avoid. The ‘Get ahead of the games’ website received 4.6m individual visits and 16 million page views. Tfl.gov.uk received 9m visits and 89m page views over the two weeks, including 3.5m visits and 24m page views to the TfL Journey Planner. There were 1.1m visits and 4m page views to Get Ahead of the Games and 2.3m visits and 12m page views to the TfL mobile site.

The ‘GOATG’ campaign ran for 9 months and they used the @GAOTG twitter and heavily promoted the website across both platforms. Out of 2,000 of the tweets that the TFL posted, 10,000 re-tweets were made, social media was used to tell friends and family, and followers relevant travel information, so everyone knew where to go and avoid.

In addition to TfL’s permanent Twitter account (@TfLOfficial) a number of Transport for London Twitter accounts provided additional advice on how services and roads are operating during the Games period. @TfLTrafficNews, @TfLTravelAlerts and @GAOTG. Individual Twitter accounts also exist for each of London Underground’s Tube lines, the DLR, London Over ground and the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme.

All these social efforts, and the introduction of Wi-Fi combined, helped London to come together and run successfully. Even our iconic tube map got an Olympic makeover:

If you’re gutted that the Olympics are over, and worried that the end of summer is making you feel down, then continue in the spirit of the Olympics and come to our Tamar event:

Did London 2012 win Socialympics Gold?

We have a cracking line up

Pete Reed MBE Double Olympic Gold Champion Team GB

Anna Watkins Olympic Gold Champion Team GB

Joe Morgan Online Editor & Digital Marketing Manager Team GB

Lia Hervey Olympics Producer Sky Sports & Sky News

Tanya Goodin Founder & CEO Tamar

The event will be also be full of Olympic lovers just like us. Relive the summer that made Britain great, again! http://tamar.eventbrite.co.uk/

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