Orbit Tower blogging the Olympics and Paralympics

Blogging the Orbit Tower during the Olympic Games and Paralympics

Orbit Tower Media Centre

Orbit Tower Media Centre

For the duration of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the run up to the Olympics and Paralympics I’ve been blogging daily over at The Orbit Tower  1 . It’s been quite fun and a little bit exciting at times such as one particular weekend when a post about the Yorkshire Medals Table went viral on Facebook and Twitter. I’d prepared the site beforehand for big surges in traffic and I’m pleased to say it held up really well.

I learned or rather re-learned the practice of rapid interaction spread over multiple channels feeding back into developing more content on the main site. Success breeds success in this respect, so it seemed to work better for me when I was concentrating on the same topic every day for an intense period rather than spreading myself out over multiple diverse areas of work.

Realtime Analytics

One new tool which came into play was the Google Analytics Realtime beta service. This shows how people are finding and navigating a site on a minute by minute basis, rising from a dozen or so at a time during the main period up to over 120 simultaneous visits during the peak. When you have that amount of traffic you can really see what the hungry visitors are trying to find at that particular juncture in the developing story.

Paralympics to come

It’s all quiet again now, almost, and there isn’t as yet any sign that the Paralympics are going to be anywhere near as high profile as we would like, but that may change once the TV coverage gets underway again on Channel 4. The actual number of Paralympic athletes themselves is 4,200 competitors from 147 nations taking part in 21 sports compared with 10,820 at the Olympics from 204 nations in 26 sports, so the amount of buzz generated by participants, coaches, trainers, entourage and families etc might be just under half, it all depends whether the inspirational trailers such as “Meet the Superhumans” really do deliver a brand new audience around the world and not just in the host country UK.

The US is a waste of time of course, with their NBC only scheduled to show a few short edited highlight programmes. They didn’t even show the whole of the epic Opening Ceremony from July, so we can forget about them.

The Orbit Tower

Searching for Orbit Tower Tickets

Searching for Orbit Tower Tickets

And what of the Orbit Tower? Well the ticketing has been a major complicating factor, restricting the number of people who could manage to navigate the obstacles to obtain the correct combination of orbit and olympic or park tickets to a mere trickle, but millions of people around the world caught sight of the sculpture on the Olympics coverage and many formed instant opinions about the artwork. I even quite like the way the very presence of the Orbit seems to cause a little bit of outrage in some people. They want to know what it’s for. What purpose does it have? And in that respect it is doing its job as a piece of art to make people question what a tower can be.

People who fell in love with the Olympic Park while they were there tended to learn to love the Orbit Tower a little bit as well. What will become of it after all the sport is long finished and forgotten, only time will tell.

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  1. Orbit Tower blog at http://orbittower.org.uk []
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