Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Technical Rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. I would love to tell you about the marvellous spectacle that awaits, but it was made very clear early on that no-one should be sharing this info.


Each of the large video screens in the Olympic Stadium displayed the hashtag #savethesurprise in large letters. And if that wasn’t clear enough, before the action started the ceremony’s artistic director Danny Boyle, specifically asked us all not to post any images onto social networks.

Artistic Director Danny Boyle asks us to #savethesurprise

Creative use of hashtags

There’s been a lot of talk about this being the first social media Olympics (although this was probably Vancouver 2010). What is certain is that despite some scaremongering about restrictions on public use of social networks, huge numbers of images and video will be shared. What impressed me about this hashtag was that it was the first time we’ve seen a hashtag designed to lock down sharing, instead of encouraging it.  Although some people have dim-wittedly used the hashtag while sharing spoilers, in general it has only increased the excitement about Friday’s Opening Ceremony. As the Games progress it will be interesting to see what other hashtag end up trending (as #savethesurprise did last night).  Place your house on #teamgb doing well, but watch out for #wiggo #mofarah and #jessennis.

Olympic Stadium

By Iain Martin