Lolo Jones Photo: Screenshot of Twitter.com/LoloJones
This is the social media Olympics. At least, such are the rumblings all over Facebook and Twitter. Fans and followers have exploded since the 2008 Games. Twitter has jumped from less than 1 million accounts to more than 300 million. The number on accounts on Facebook has vaulted from 90 million to more than 900 million. When you add in Instagram, Tumblr, etc., well, you get the idea. The athletes have taken notice, and now there are a lot of Olympians on a lot of digital platforms throwing out a lot of little bits of information in order to get more exposure during the biggest athletic moment of their careers.
The International Olympic Committee also noticed. They don't want things to get out of hand, especially with the articles on sex and partying and what not in the Olympic Village. So they've established some guidelines: athletes must post in a first-person, diary-type format, videos are forbidden, and any pictures of other athletes can only be posted if permission has been received. A few U.S. Olympians have already spoken out about having to follow such rules, which is part of the reason they've made our list of the people to follow. “Why would you want to handicap a form of media that only increases exposure for your event?” Olympian Nick Symmonds told Mashable. “If you’re trying to make these the most watched Games in the history of the world, why would you take the people responsible for that history and say, ‘Hey, you can’t do that, you can’t share?’ Limiting it seems so stupid.”
“I think the main reason it’s frustrating for us as Olympic athletes is that this is our biggest stage,” swimmer Ricky Berens told Mashable. “Twitter and social media are how we can get our word out, and fans kind of want to see what things look like from behind the scenes. TV portrays things the way it wants to, and we can give a lot more that that.”
How the rules will be enforced is unclear. Many athletes won't complain about the rules or test them, but may still put up tweets you'll want to share: a take on God, daily inspiration, an inside look at the lives of the competitors, a self-portrait after an important event. Here's my take on which U.S. Olympians you should follow on Twitter, depending on what you're trying to find.
Best For: Completely Random Thoughts
Here are his two most recent tweets.
"Toaster Strudel is weak sauce. I just had real German apple strudel and it was the beez neez." July 16
"Just had the most awesome interview with Bill Cosby. He should have been a Decathlete. He had some crazy good marks back in the day!" July 16