Maybe I’m biased because I’m a proud Vancouverite and ex-figure skater, but this Winter Olympics feels immense to me. I feel massive amounts of pride and nervous tension, as I hold my breath for the next 17 days. But, while I was throughly weeping watching Clara Hughes’ teary eyes as she lead the Canadian team into the stadium, the internet shrugged, said “meh” and asked, “what’s happening on YouTube?”
The 2010 organizers are vocal about being the first Olympics to have a “Global Social Media” campaign, but they are still miles away from connecting to heartbeat of the internet and engaging with the masses of apathetic, web-addicted cynics like, well, me.
Comments of Twitter directly following the Opening ceremonies ranged from the inquisitive, “Dude, what happened with the torch?? #torchfail to the whining, “How hard would it have been for Gretzky to shoot a flaming puck into the cauldron?” to the bitter, “Lol @Canada. Thanks for showing up how to NOT do Olympics & healthcare” to the sarcastic “This just in: Olympic torch pillars being recalled by Toyota”.
There was a much more positive “Go Canada” vibe on Facebook, but then again people are generally nicer on Facebook. I think it’s the whole “if you happen to find me tagged in a drunken, embarrassing photo, please don’t forward it to my mom” silent agreement that keeps troll comments to a minimum. Most of my Canadian friends on Facebook were w00ting and my American contacts where complaining about the crappy NBC coverage of the Opening Ceremonies and giggling at their own “Blame Canada” jokes.
While I wasn’t surprised that the internet latched on to the “epic torch fail” moment, I was surprised at how little people were actually talking about the Olympics online. In fact, the Olympics only trended on Twitter for about three hours, then it was booted off in favor of #thuglife. Blame violent video games, Michael Bay movies, or Wikipedia, but the internet audience has about as much attentiveness as a flee circus. Days, weeks, and months seem to mash into one giant lol, fml, pwn or fail. At the end of one day’s “torchfail”, another “OMG rofl” moment is born somewhere else, most likely on a Japanese game show.
Perhaps it is the buzz of just living in Vancouver, footsteps away from the heart of the action, that has sold me on this Olympic Games. I’m loving every minute of 2010 excitement and even my overwhelming desire to make snide comments about the four phallic-shaped totems that slowly rose from the ground as dancers shook and shimmied around them has been squelched.