During the Olympic Games in Vancouver in February, millions lived, and contributed to, the passion of the Games via the IOC’s social media platforms. The IOC has significantly expanded its use of social media and other online communications tools to engage younger audiences, promote Olympic values and share the magic of the Games with the largest possible audience.
The IOC’s Facebook page has attracted over 1.5 million fans and generated nearly 200 million impressions since its launch in January. Providing behind-the-scenes updates from athletes and teams - Lindsey Vonn, Shawn White and Justin Kripps are just some of the athletes featured – the Facebook page also enables fans to share their Olympic experiences. The Olympic photo contest saw almost 4,000 photos submitted by fans, ranging from superb sports competition imagery to more personal Olympic experience shots like the family pet dog wearing the Vancouver red mittens. Fans were given the opportunity to win free tickets to see Olympic events, cheer for their favourite athletes or even "play" Olympic sports. The Official Vancouver 2010 Video Game received over five million plays. Platforms such as Facebook are also proving to be effective ways to reach out to younger audiences that are perhaps more difficult to reach through traditional media - over 60% of the Facebook fans are under the age of 24.
The lead-up to the Games in Vancouver also saw the IOC present on YouTube, with its interactive The Best of Us challenge. This allowed members of the general public to compete against Olympic athletes in a series of fun and playful challenges. Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn and Jenny Owens created unique challenges which attracted over three million views. Prizes were awarded - including a trip to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games for the best challenges that were posted.
Flickr is also being used to share the strong moments of the Games through Olympic imagery. More than 11,000 Olympic photos, taken by over 600 photographers, are shared with the general public on this image hosting website. During the Vancouver Games, the IOC following on Twitter doubled to over 12,000.