The London Olympics are set to be liked, tweeted, pinned and shared with more people than ever before as athletes, fans and organisers interact online in the first-ever social media Summer Olympics.
Sportspeople and those overseeing the event are using social networks to communicate with legions of netizens — mainly on Twitter, which has 140 million active users, and the 901-million-strong Facebook.
But the sheer scale of this relatively new medium has brought up a host of challenges for organisers and national teams.
Already athletes have been given social media bans and juicy details of the opening ceremony have leaked online.
In the four years since the Beijing Olympics, the global number of social media users has exploded, as has the amount of people with smartphones.
As such, the London event will generate unprecedented scrutiny — a fact the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is capitalising on with initiatives such as a social media hub that links Internet users with athletes.
Olympians themselves are commenting online in real time on their social media pages, allowing regular netizens to get an insight into their lives — and sometimes characters — in a way that was not previously possible.
US hurdler Lolo Jones, for instance, is huge on Twitter thanks to a mix of funny comments, interaction with her 168,500-plus followers and juicy announcements — such as her revelation that she is a virgin.
But the very public medium has its flipside and already athletes have blundered.
Swimming star Michael Phelps also caused a stir when he criticised the new Olympics swimming cap on his social media account.
Participants have been told not to promote non-official brands for one month, prompting a rush of online praise for sponsors just before the ban kicked off last week — all of which was covered by an amused press.
Does that mean #London2012, #LondonOlympics will be trending for 3 weeks?