When we think of a send-off for Olympians, a fanfare-type gathering of public support for the athletes usually springs to mind. However, in this, the year of the XXII Winter Olympiad, Team USA has come up with a new type of send-off for their athletes heading to Sochi – a digital one.
The big idea is to assemble an outpouring of supportive messages across various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebok, Instagram, Google+ and so on. Using the hashtag “#GoTeamUSA”, fans and team members alike can post their well-wishes to their fellow compatriots to ensure they feel the love en route to the competition in Russia.
An online social media hub has been set up at social.teamusa.org in order to allow everyone to view all the interaction in one convenient location. A “Dream Stream” provides relevant articles and team news, while the “Social Podium” allows one to view posts by athletes, fans and official team social media accounts. There is also a Q&A section, which offers the public an opportunity to receive immediate answers to questions they pose to athletes and coaches during scheduled Q&A sessions.
This is a revolutionary way to give the general public more insight into the team they are supporting at Sochi this year. It provides a level of personal and direct interaction that certainly was not possible before the rise of social media.
Although similar projects have been attempted at previous events, they have not quite tied all the social media platforms together as well as Team USA has done this year. No doubt the athletes will also be feeling pretty chipper when receiving so much support, instantly, from all around the world.
Other competing nations also have dedicated websites for fans to message your favourite team and its athletes. For all the Aussie fans out there, you can send your love via the Australian team Fan Wall at http://sochi2014.olympics.com.au/fan-zone/fan-zone/fan-wall.