Author: Vicki Maggs (@maggsy), Digital Analyst, BBH London

As we’ve all heard repeatedly, London 2012 has been anticipated as “The most social Olympic Games yet”, and it’s easy to see why. Since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Facebook users have grown 800%, Twitter users by over 8000% and Youtube videos are now generating 72 hours of video per minute. Not to mention the launch and growth of Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare.

Friday night saw the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games with 26.9 million UK viewers tuned in. According to Twitter, this one night alone generated more tweets than the entire duration of the 2008 Beijing Games – 9.66 Million.

Using Sysomos, we found over 840,000 tweets tagged the #openingceremony with the peak of conversation occurring on Mr Bean’s entrance. Interestingly, he was also the most discussed topic of conversation (aside from mentions of Danny Boyle @DannyBoyleFilms) – being picked up all around the world as a successful nod to British culture and humour. Mr Bean gained a very positive response with 97% of conversation favourable.

Conversely, the most negative theme of conversation surrounded MP Aiden Burley’s controversial tweet attacking the ceremony as “leftie multi-cultural cr*p.” Unsurprisingly the tweet and account are now deleted…

Another dominant negative theme surrounded American TV network NBC programming decisions. Delays, streaming errors and spoilers were captured under the hashtag #NBCfail and the complaints and mockery continue to grow.

Despite the Queen’s spectacular entrance to the stadium, it was her look of boredom during the Ceremony that got closest to meme-status. The original image gained 250,000 views in the first 24 hours and others were reblogged all over the net, repeatedly on the blog “You Know You’re British When…”.

Source: You Know You're British, When..
Positive responses towards the ceremony grew as it went on. Initially the performance was met with some ’embarrassment, shock and amusement’ however, as the ceremony continued, the British audience began to soften and an element of pride became evident, with an combined increase of 376% in mentions of the terms ‘proud’ and ‘patriotic’ by closing.

With a high point for the open web being the moment Tim Berners-Lee tweeted live from the ceremony, RT’d over 10,000 times:

As the games continue, London 2012 promises to give us the closest access yet, with athletes sharing their thoughts, feelings and photos in real time. We may not all be lucky enough to get tickets to the events, but we can all still dream…. stay tuned.

And, for a good round-up of how brands are faring during the Olympics, check out yesterday’s Holmes Report (via We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #127).