The Olympics just ended and once again the good ole U-S-of A did it again, capturing the most medals (the most golds) and making us proud the whole way through (sans a momentary Twitter tantrum from Hope Solo). Local heroes like Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps starred at the games and made us all more patriotic. Bob Costas made us all feel as if we were sitting on the sofa with him watching the Olympics as he tee’d up every event that was being featured, even after we knew who won. The guy makes speed walking compelling. Is there anyone better at telling a story?
The “tape delayed” Olympics, as I referred to them when they first started, were going to be a disaster. I was convinced. How could they not be, as I was getting alerts with results from the Washington Post and all my “tweeps” on Twitter? The up-to-the-minute barrage of SPOILER ALERT communication put out through the media was going to prevent me, and others, from watching at night. Why should I watch if I know who wins or loses?
Well, I was wrong. NBC’s ratings for the Summer Olympics were some of the best EVER. Even in the up-to-the-minute news age we live, we still watched. Both NBC and Twitter contend that social media was the reason that drove so many people to watch, even though we knew who won. In the end (and at the beginning for that matter), it was about the stories. Bob Costas tells a compelling story. Here I was thinking Twitter was driving people away from the Olympics when it was doing the exact opposite. I have been a big fan of Twitter for a while now. The best part of it was, I was “that guy” who was wondering who would watch, and then watched. If there is a great story, people will watch. Great stories trump all. The beginning of a school year reminds me of the Olympics and all the great stories to be told.
Higher enrollment, a major drop in attrition and a new mission statement speak to some of the great stories to tell. As we start a new school year, let us remember all the great stories we have to tell and imagine all the stories that will be told in the months and years ahead. Can’t wait for the new year to start, new stories to be told and the Winter Olympics in two years.