In an Olympic year it seems that every person is a sports expert. However, instead of hearing those views at the workplace coffee station or standing in the queue during your grocery shopping you are bombarded on your social media feed as well. Sometimes social media is a fantastic medium for sports experts to share their views to a wide audience and it is accurate and informative. There is an opportunity for these experts or for journalists to provide coverage in real time rather than having to wait for hours for their story to be published. In an Olympic year where the competition is being held in a different time zone this is particulary useful for the general public.
However, the general public need to be discerning about the information that they read and the information that they even believe. For example last week, on various social media feeds there was an article claiming that Chad le Clos had won a gold medal in the 100m about 18 hours before he even swam the event! There were many people who were most excited about this development even though it was clearly false and there were a few red faces when celebrations had to be nipped in the bud! Instances like that are fairly harmless, however when more controversial subjects are tackled on social media, about issues that divede our society, for example the Russian doping system, or the recently broken 10,000m ladies record, or our gold medal hope Caster Semenya, one has to be very careful about the way that you share your opinions on social media, especially if you are just a passionate sports fan and not an expert. Whilst sports stars may have to expect a certain level of scrutiny which ordinary mortals are not subjected to, this does not mean that they are not capable of being deframed. Do not be foolish in your posts... you will not be able to blame Olympic fever!