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Friday, August 08, 2008

The Great #080808 Beijing Olympic Twitter Campaign Catches Fire

Anyone who has been to enough events with social media creators knows that it is inevitable that people will find a way to connect and find one another. To a degree, Twitter first caught on from this need a year and a half ago at SXSW in 2007. I have witnessed it over and over, through examples like attendees of four conferences finding one another to share an evening of Korean BBQ in NYC a few months ago, or finding someone to hang out with as you are travelling to a foreign city for business. Social media creators are not just creating content, they are becoming experts at connecting with one another.

So I wasn't surprised to see that the tag 080808 is catching on as a way for all of us in Beijing at the Olympics to find and connect with one another. Started by three Chinese bloggers (Flypig, Webleon and Babechloe) and described on, this campaign is already bringing together not just everyone here in Beijing who is creating social media content, but is also becoming a brilliant way to follow all these live voices of the Games in a real time stream. As the Olympics kicks off tonight, this tag and the resulting conversations on Twitter will accelerate dramatically. For my part, I have already started tagging my content with this and will soon revise my Twitter icon to use the 080808 template created for the campaign (the image below is a compilation of current icons from a post about the campaign on Read Write Web).

In addition, I just sent out a Tweet about a blogger meetup that will be sponsored by Ogilvy and Lenovo where we can try to get some of the many diverse bloggers here in Beijing together for a drink and chat. If you happen to be here, send me a message at @rohitbhargava and let me know if you can make it to The Bookworm in downtown Beijing on Sunday, August 10th at 7pm. And even if you're not in Beijing, you'll want to start using this tag to find the best content and impressions from social media creators here at the Games. This is a case study in the making ...

Official Image from the Tag080808 Site:


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All of you guys who are going should check this out and learn some mandarin. I think it is rude to go to a country and not at least try to speaka their language.

I would agree with David, though I think that the Olympics are a special circumstance. The cool thing about the Olympics is that it generates a global forum for athletic performance on an unequaled scale. Exposure to all these cultures and languages is part of the athlete/media/consumer experience.

As attendees, Rohit et al are given a fantastic opportunity to interface with different cultures and people in a unique setting that only manifests itself once every four years. And technology is making those connections easier than ever - there was no Twitter at the last Olympics. How on earth did people connect with one another at the Olympics before Twitter and other such social media?

But now that we are blessed with such advances, I think that it would be pretty fantastic if there were some way to have Twitter streams translated into multiple languages. For instance, I am really into swimming - I would love to hear what some of the Chinese / German etc swimmers are doing (and what their media is saying about them).

As a side note, I think that what Ogilvy and Lenovo are doing with the 100 athlete blogs is fantastic, and I wish all of you the best of luck in that endeavor.

Flypig was my first friend on Twitter - he's a tech journalist based in Beijing and a great guy. The #080808 campaign is just another example of how boarderless the Internet makes us.

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