What on earth led me to believe this week was going to be somewhat quieter? The exact oposite is true; it has been a crazy week, with little sleep, lots of things to do and some fire drills.
We have just made a minor face lift to the "Voices of the Olympic Games" site.
Odd timing, you might think, since we're only 1 week into the games and with one more week to go. Well, we realized he had an overflow of content coming in, and felt that our visitors might loose a lot of the action.
What has happened is that most of the page is absolutely dynamic and ever changing. There are only 2 elements that remain static, and I might "fix" that soon...
We have such an overflow of cool video, pics and posts coming in from where the action is happening that there might be some sort of information overload!
Now visitors will be able to see 5 featured stories, the latest 4 youtube videos, the twitter feed, the latest pictures and the latest athlete posts on a single glimpse.
Go ahead and pay "voices" a visit; then let me know what you think!
What is this program all about then? The boss explains it far better than I could possibly do. But to summarize: we're gathering a bunch of "geeky athletes" (tip of the hat to Zach Bell for the term!) and trying to connect them with fans, the general audience and other athletes. They have a lot to say and we want to make sure their voices are heard.
How I solved the technical part of this project is part of part 2 of this two-part series.
So what will I be posting about here? The human side. The things I'm learning just by taking the quick looks I must take into this Athlete's blogs.
Athletes are a race apart, particularly amateurs. This people fight every single day of their lives to get better at what they do. Many times they have to struggle against very adverse training conditions, constrained budgets and the fears we all have (but not everybody faces).
All of that for single moments of glory or defeat every four years.
The sheer degree of self-consciousness and perfectionism required at this level is something not everyone can deal with. Take David Oliver's blog title: "David Oliver! Your Mission: 12.87" if that ain't a statement I don't know what is.
Reading Drew Ginn's thoughts on how to hold on efforts minute-by-minute are also quite inspiring:
During the last few days many times I have found myself using the idea of just hang on a minute just to see what else there is. Just to see if you can go a little further. A minute seems reasonable to consider. A minute is not never ending but rather a finite period to hang on for. The last bike ride I went on was a classic example where I had the feeling of tired and fatigue in my legs. To the point where I just kept thinking 'Hang On A Minute', a minute was fair. It felt ok to push on a little longer obviously to find that there was another still to come after that one. It was a long climb and each and every minute began with a simple task, HANG ON.
So, if people ask me what do I enjoy most about Olympic Web Marketing the answer is simple: learning from this athlete's life lessons.
I have very recently commented about my involvement on Lenovo's Olympic Podium. It is a very complex project, full of different angles to work with. One of the core drivers will hopefully be the gadgets.
As a regular iGoogle user, my iGoogle Page has 9 tabs with all sorts of different stuff in them; and being of the geeky sort I was quite familiar with the concept of gadgets. At least from the end-user perspective, not quite so from a "driver's seat" perspective.
What makes a gadget cool? what makes it stay on iGoogle or other portals? what makes people share them?
Over and over again the word "live" hit my mind. This is no static page. No written-in stone HTML. What makes a keeper in the case of gadgets is never-ending freshness. The reason anyone has iGoogle, myYahoo, windows live or any similar system as their default homepage is because the frame is the same, but the content is always changing. A gadget that stays still will, most certainly, get removed.
The live nature yields another question: identifying good data sources. Fortunately things have shifted in the past years and any good site provides RSS feeds. On the grim side of things you have what people (or CMSs) do to RSS and Atom. That dreadful ![[CDATA tag is probably one of the worst things ever to happen to XML, and it is quite contrary to the original and founding concept of "just content". For those not on the Technical side of things what CDATA allows is to insert all sorts of HTML rubbish inside XML.
Striping off all that other non-content stuff to be able to massage and present data as intended is just painful, not to mention the additional bandwidth required to retrieve things that will, ultimately, not make it into the final view.
I would suggest to all content owners to provide both "rich" and "basic" feeds.
Before anyone points it out: yes, this blog abuses CDATA as well... I promise I'll fix it!