Social Media Engages Watchers On A New Level

8:42 AM, Jul 25, 2012   |    comments
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McLean, VA (written by Nick Foley/USA Today) -- Social-media apps are making a splash of their own for this Olympics.

A number of mobile apps will help spectators at the Games keep tabs on the action. TorchTracker uses GPS tracking to pinpoint where the Olympic Torch is -- and how to reach it. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games released two apps:

The 2012 Results App, which posts the latest scores, schedules and results, and the 2012 Join In App, which tells spectators about events, celebrations and activities during the Games.

Another group of apps is designed to keep stay-at-home fans close to the action as the Games officially open Friday. The apps allow users to digest the Games as a social experience in a way not seen in previous Games, with users seamlessly sharing their thoughts as events happen, said Scott Ellison, vice president of mobile and consumer platforms for technology research firm IDC.

NBCUniversal is slated to stream 3,500 hours of Olympics coverage on its site, and has partnered with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Tumblr, GetGlue and Shazam to continue its coverage across a slew of social-media platforms. Shazam, which uses tagging to compile information from across the Web on its app, will corral  all Olympics-related information in one place.

"More content than ever before is available for mobile devices, but it's not always easy to find that content with your mobile device," says David Jones, executive vice president of marketing for Shazam. "We've solved that problem by combining NBC must-have content with Shazam's technology and massive user base."

Other free apps: 

Panasonic's Facebook Flag Tags

Facebook users can get into the Olympic spirit by digitally transposing national flags over their faces, a 21st century answer to face-painting. The picture then posts to their profiles to encourage friends to follow suit.  The app keeps track of the number of supporters per country on a "league table." So far, Great Britain, Peru and Turkey are  leading.

Samsung Hope Relay

For every mile run while the  app is activated, Samsung  donates £1 to charities, including Kids Company and International Inspiration. 

SoFit Mobile

Uses GPS  technology to track users' steps as they compete with  friends.  Users can donate money to charity or unlock medals and real-life discounts and coupons based on how far they travel.


In a raw test of social-media fortitude, will allow users to race athletes with their tweets during the 100M relay Aug. 5. The site measures every tweet at 2.5 cm, meaning 4,000 tweets will be needed to cover 100 meters. A bird will simulate users' tweets on the site next to the distance covered by actual athletes.

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