Twitter Has Big Plans For The Rio Games

by Chris Tognotti

If you're a diehard fan of the Summer Olympics and are already getting pumped up for the 2016 games in Rio (the opening ceremony is set for Friday), then you're probably keeping up with some of the late-breaking news and up-to-the-minute information that's coming out. As it so happens, on Tuesday, one of the world's biggest social media companies rolled out some new details on how it's going to celebrate and broadcast the games. The latest Rio Olympics Twitter update involves the addition of hundreds of new automatically-added hashtag emojis. In other words, your timeline is going to look a little more fun for the next few weeks.

The basic idea may sound pretty familiar if you remember all those elephant and donkey emojis during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. This time around, each and every country represented at the games will have a corresponding flag emoji, which will be added automatically any time you tweet using its three-letter abbreviation. So #USA for the Americans, for example, or #JPN for Japan, or #ROT for the Refugee Olympic Team (rather than a national flag, the refugee emoji features two hands holding a globe aloft).

There's also a dedicated section for coverage of the Rio games under Twitter's "Moments" tab, which will make it that much easier to follow along, whether you're watching on TV while scanning Twitter or stuck someplace where you can't watch live and want to learn the results as they happen.

If you're planning on following the Olympics on Twitter this year, the company's official blog also lists a handful of official Twitter accounts you can follow. These are the best ways to stay informed on all the action — by their claim, at least. They list these four key accounts as follows: @Olympics, @OlympicFlame, @Rio2016, and if you're an English speaker, @Rio2016_en. They also encourage people to follow the official hashtag for the games, #Rio2016.

If you're looking for a slightly more active, involved user experience, you can of course also follow along on Periscope. Twitter's streaming video service will be running a channel dedicated to Rio coverage, and even beyond that, you can browse the feeds of all the people who're actually in Rio to watch the games. In short, there are going to be a lot of options for you to up your Olympics-consuming game this time around, whether you're following strictly through social media or you're using a second screen to augment your experience. Just remember: Don't spend too much time staring at the screen, or you might miss something incredible!