San Francisco -- As the preparation for the forthcoming globally popular Summer Olympics to be held in London is around the corner, social networking giant Facebook has taken a novel initiative to bring the game to the arm-chair viewer, on Monday launched an official Explore London 2012, a page dedicated for fans to connect with their favorite athletes, and teams, a move it says can help make this summer's games the first “truly social” one.
Characterized as a way “to help everyone glean the most out of the Games,” the dashboard features links to the main Olympics pages, as well as those of athletes, national teams and sports categories for users to “like” and get status updates in order to follow the action.
However, according to the company, the Explore London 2012 page will stay clean of ads, but the Facebook official who conversed with TechCrunch, attributing the decision to “the notion of a 'clean venue'” at the Olympics.
Facebook has launched an Explore London 2012 page to connect fans with athletes. (Facebook / June 18, 2012)
In fact, many athletes along with the London Games organizers already connect with their fans on the online social media network, but Facebook claims that its new “Explore London 2012” page is a portal that brings together the profile pages of hundreds of athletes, national teams, and official organizing bodies to make them more accessible to its 900 million users.
Besides, the Explore London 2012 page will be updated at regular intervals to include photos from past Olympics as well as information from notable events, according to TechCrunch.
“I'm absolutely sure that through Facebook and all of our other social media channels we will manage to bring a new dimension to the games for a new audience,” said Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee's communications director.
Among other things, the page also touts the famous athletes likes of Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor, Rafael Nadal, and David Beckham, fans can “like” their favorite athletes' pages and stay tuned to get the latest information and news “from inside the games,” the site said. It is all part of an effort to turn the 2012 London Games into the first social Olympics, and as a result, the IOC also has plans for other social networks.
Besides, the company official also mentioned that soon it will include pages of broadcasters and sponsors as well. Currently, the page features 250 of the event's 10,000 athletes, but will ramp up as the Games draw closer. More so, the features are available in 22 languages, and the page already has 100 million connections between fans and athletes with the potential to reach more than 900 million people.
Apart from the latest initiative, Facebook's official The Olympic Games page has already garnered more than 2.8 million likes, with photos from London's preparations, user polls, and news of the summer games. Historical pictures and notable past events reaching back to the 1908 London Olympics cushion the page. The International Olympic Committee informed TechCrunch it has been working with Facebook for the last year and a half to get the effort going.
“The Olympics has been connecting fans with memorable sporting events and moments for more than a century, first in the stadiums, then through television and now via social media,” said Mark Adams, the IOC's director of communications, in a statement. “It makes sense to give fans the best experience we can and these will be the first truly 'social' Games."
According to TechCrunch, the Olympic Games, however, will also blossom with a dedicated page from Google+; Twitter will also have a branded page, Foursquare will have an Olympic Day for users to check in, and the IOC is also working with Tumblr and Instagram as well.