By Nick Butler
Nanjing 2014 have joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in claiming social media was a crucial contributory factor to the success of the Summer Youth Olympic Games in the Chinese city.
They claimed that, "from the earliest stages, social media has been a key ingredient of the team's promotion plan for the Games".
In particular, interest was generated by the hastag #YOGselfie, which went viral on social media following IOC President Thomas Bach's request during the Opening Ceremony for "as many as possible" to be taken.
On the first day alone, there were 450 million Weibo posts concerning news and topics related to the Games, with selfies a major component of this success.
The Sina Weibo platform had more than 600 million views of the Youth Olympics-related content and 620,000 microblog posts involving Youth Olympic discussion.
Page views on overseas social media networks increased throughout the Games and the number of followers on the Organising Committee's Facebook and Twitter accounts exceeded 420,000 and 24,000 respectively, it was explained.
These figures come as a boost at a time when there remains doubts about the appeal of the Youth Olympics, with the social media aspect particularly pleasing because there were concerns beforehand that a ban on Twitter and Facebook, in operation in China since 2009, would not be lifted.
The enthusiastic way in which the work force embraced these measures was also hailed as crucial to the success.
"Our responsibility is to promote the YOG brand as well as the Youth Olympic spirit," said Wang Desheng, Vice-Minister of Press Promotion Department.
"The 'Virtual Torch Relay' and the 'YOG selfie' campaign was an effective and creative way to promote the Nanjing 2014 YOG.
"The ideas and planning were all thanks to staff in the press promotion team and our cooperation with the IOC."
Tian Haiyan, manager of the Nanjing 2014 Public Media Team, claimed there had been a specific attempt to pick workers who were familiar with social media and what young people wish to see.
"Most of our team was born after the 1980s or even the 1990s," he said.
"They know all about young people and social media trends.
"We gave them full control of social media like Sina and Facebook with the goal of having an innovative and youthful Games."
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