The London Olympics were supposed to be the “social media Olympics.” They were supposed to be the Olympics when viewers around the world, enabled by Twitter and Facebook and other free communications services, could come together to discuss the competition and pageantry playing out on their television sets. Or, if they were lucky enough, on their computer screens.
And these Olympics were, to an extent, exactly that: Facebook saw soaring numbers for the Facebook fan bases of Olympic athletes. Twitter, not to be outdone, logged over 150 million Olympic-related tweets over the past 16 days. But these Olympics ended up being something else, too. The drama playing out in London ended up bringing people together through a very particular kind of social media: memes. Visual memes, ridiculous memes, memes that took the imagery of the Games and augmented it.
London 2012 was McKayla Maroney’s scowl, all the way down.