Twitter works with NBC to take on Olympic Games

Twitter tries to bring in new users by pulling together tweets and Olympics excitement

Twitter is teaming with NBC to make it easier for users to take in all the tweets about the upcoming Olympic Games.

NBC Olympics , an arm of the NBC Sports Group, announced this week that Twitter will gather tweets about the London 2012 Olympic Games from participating athletes and their families, NBC journalists and commenters, and fans. The aggregated tweets will be presented on a specially designed Olympics event page on Twitter.com. ( Twitter.com/#Olympics)

The Olympics page will serve as Twitter's home for news and information about the games in the U.S..

Social networks -- especially the major players like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ -- are expected to light up with traffic the moment the games begin as users post comments about the opening and closing ceremonies, cheer on their favorite athletes and teams and post photos and video. Users also are expected to turn to their favorite social networks more than ever when they want news about the games.

While NBC will promote the special Twitter page during its on-air coverage of the games, Twitter also will relaunch its NBC Olympic Twitter Tracker, a real-time visual map of the top trending topics about the Olympic games. The tracker will be set up on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Olympics smartphone and tablet apps.

"Twitter has become the roar of the crowd during live sporting events," said Chloe Sladden, Twitter's vice president of media. "Partnering with NBC Olympics to create Twitter.com/#Olympics allows us to now shine a spotlight on the best moments within the shared experience of the Olympics and to tell the stories that capture the world's attention."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said Twitter is smart to get in on such a popular worldwide event that should help to pull in people who may have never tried the micro-blogging site.

"I think Twitter sees the Olympics and the NBC tie-in as a way to bring non-Twitter users into the fold, or the Twitterdom," added Olds. "They're hoping that folks who are highly interested in particular competitions or athletes will tune into Twitter in order to get more and deeper info. The hope is that once these people get involved with Twitter, they'll find there is a thriving community of like-minded people who are nuts for, say, rhythmic gymnastics."

While it may be good marketing, the question is whether this is a move that could help Twitter bring in revenue.

"Twitter is taking a shot at adding to its active user base, which, if successful, will allow them to charge more for ads and appeal to different advertisers," Olds said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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