Come the end of this month, the Olympics will be played out for all to see on NBC, but social-savvy fans and sponsors are set to connect with audiences on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (Not to mention, NBCOlympics.com will live stream every single event and the network will provide two different apps for mobile devices.) With nearly everyone toting a smartphone, the main sporting event will spark record-level engagement on popular social networking sites; it’s not a conversation everyone had access to during previous Olympic games. Web access has increased greatly since the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China. According to the International Telecommunications Union, there were approximately 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide (23% of the world’s total population). By July 27, that number will jump to about 2.3 billion users—an average of 33% of the total population. With the games fast approaching, Mashable outlined how the popular networks stack up today:
In 2008, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company surpassed Myspace in popularity and unveiled its chat feature. Former-Facebook-executive-turned-Path-CEO Dave Morin tweeted in August of 2008 that the social networking site reached a milestone: The then-4-year-old site scored 100 million users.
Currently, Facebook has over 901 million monthly active users, 80% of which are outside the U.S. and Canada. Since the summer games, numerous updates have been made to the social media site–the launch of the Facebook application, introduction to the “like” button and the unveiling of Timeline, among other notable additions. Facebook made a splash (and then steady decline) in the stock market as a publicly traded company. On the flip side, Mark Zuckerberg, who was named Person of the Year by Time in 2010, is still seen as an e-mogul.