REDMOND, Wash. — March 17, 2010 — While Dylan Derryberry waited for the athletes to fly into view at the men’s Olympic alpine event in Whistler, B.C., he used his mobile phone to follow the action. For the first time in the history of the Olympics, social media and on-demand coverage were front and center at the Games — with spectators, media and athletes turning to PCs, phones and the Internet for the latest sporting news.
Speed skating gold medalist Bonnie Blair and blogger Amber Johnson check out Office 2010 beta. Vancouver, B.C., Feb. 12, 2010
Derryberry and fellow blogger Amber Borowski Johnson attended the action-packed 2010 Olympic Winter Games, after winning a Microsoft Office online contest that selected them to write about the Games for their followers. Johnson and Derryberry were two of 10 contest semifinalists chosen by a panel of judges, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair and online video stars Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld from CollegeHumor.com. Johnson and Derryberry each took a 10-day trip to Vancouver, B.C., and worked alongside Team USA to blog daily about the team, using the beta of Microsoft Office 2010 Professional and an Acer Aspire 4810 laptop.
Everyone’s Gone Social
“Everywhere you looked, the media, athletes, Olympic fans and spectators were using social media, blogs, video and audio updates to report on activities, stories and results at the Games,” says Derryberry.
While years ago Olympic athletes used phone calling cards to stay in touch with family, friends and fans, today they reach out by tweeting, updating Facebook pages, and posting to blogs as soon as they finish an event. Some of the Winter Games athletes amassed thousands of Twitter followers in record-breaking time.
Also, while a quick sweep online shows that some athletes felt disconnected from their peers at the 2006 Torino Games due to the distance between athlete villages, athletes made up for it this year by using social media sites to share competition dates and wins and to congratulate or cheer on fellow athletes. For instance, Apolo Anton Ohno tweeted to ice hockey’s Angela Ruggiero: “@AngelaRuggiero great job tonight Angela! You and the team were warriors. Stand tall! 🙂 we were cheering the whole game.”
As a result, fans of the Games were no longer tied to nightly, time-delayed network broadcast of events. The alternatives available for “in-the-moment” information about the Olympic events, athletes and scores were virtually unlimited at the 2010 Games, with spectators also turning to their mobile phones, Twitter, Facebook, MSN, and other sites and blogs for breaking news and information, or watching live streaming video of the Olympics online via NBCOlympics.com on MSN.
Journalists covering the events also used a variety of technologies to write and file stories and posts. While Johnson and Derryberry blogged daily about their once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Olympics using Microsoft Office and Office Mobile technology, they noticed the U.S. press corps also relied heavily on social media, mobile phones and laptops to get rich, multimedia stories published quickly.
Dylan Derryberry obtains his press credentials to engage with athletes and members of the press during the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C., Feb. 21, 2010.
To help make reporting from the Games easier, Microsoft, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and Slalom Consulting teamed up to build a refreshed Web site (http://www.USOCPressbox.org) for the media using the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 beta platform and Microsoft Silverlight technologies. The site made it possible for reporters covering the Games to collaborate with colleagues, post to popular social networking sites with one click, share information, and access breaking news, photos, images, events, Twitter feeds from USOC and Team USA athletes, live streaming video, and other Olympic information — all in one spot.
Following the Games, over 92 percent of surveyed reporters said the new Web site helped them cover the Olympics, and over 72 percent used athlete quotes and transcripts from the site to inform their coverage. Nearly half of reporters responded that they checked the new site one to two times per day during the Games.
Right Tools for the Job
Microsoft Office 2010 is designed to deliver the top productivity solution across PCs, mobile phones and Web browsers, and the Microsoft contest winners used each at the Games. From broadcast and video editing in Microsoft Office PowerPoint to co-authoring and directly posting blogs in Microsoft Office Word, the new Microsoft Office technology helps people work from virtually any location using almost any device. Currently in beta, Microsoft Office 2010 will help people do the following:
Work anywhere with Office Web Apps — the online companions to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote — that help provide access to documents from virtually anywhere and help preserve the look and feel of documents on various devices
Collaborate better with co-authoring in Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft OneNote 2010, along with advanced e-mail management and calendaring capabilities in Microsoft Outlook 2010, including the option to “ignore” unwanted e-mail threads
Easily express creativity with the video and picture editing, broadcast capability in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, easy document preparation through the new Microsoft Office Backstage view, and new Sparklines in Microsoft Excel 2010 to visualize data and spot trends faster
“Having the ability to crank out a story draft in Word and directly upload it to my blog with Microsoft Office 2010 was one of the highlights of the Games for me,” Johnson says. “That and, of course, meeting hockey great Wayne Gretzky!”
“The 2010 Games are already considered the first ‘digital games,’” says Derryberry. “It will be great to see how the social media evolves and changes at the next Olympic Games.”
Microsoft Office 2010 will be available in June 2010. For more information or to download the Office 2010 beta visit http://www.microsoft.com/2010 or http://blogs.office.com. Learn more about the Microsoft Office Winter Games contest at http://www.OfficeWinterGames.com, and find out more about the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams and the USOC at http://www.teamusa.org. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 will be available in June 2010; for more information visit http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint.