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Social media in sport and development


Social media in sport and development

sportanddev recently reached 2,000 likes on Facebook. To mark this achievement, we highlight some innovative approaches towards online communication in sport and development.

On 17 July 2013, sportanddev reached 2,000 likes on Facebook. Social media has had a huge impact on the way people communicate and on interaction between organisations and individuals. For sportanddev, it’s an important way to highlight the information shared through our website, monitor news in the sector and communicate with those involved or interested in the field.

Because of the growth of social media, more people are able to learn about the sector than ever before. Organisations can highlight their work more easily and give prominence to issues they are concerned about. Online communication presents challenges as well as opportunities – but it certainly helps to raise the profile of the issues that are important to us.

Sport and development, with inherent visual appeal, is also well-suited to social media. The sector is a dynamic and innovative field and approaches towards online communication often reflect this. Here are just a few examples.

In December 2012, the Inclusive Sports Initiative at the Institute of Human Centered Design launched #HOWCOOLISTHAT, a social media campaign to address mainstream coverage of disability sports in the US and worldwide. Organisers pointed out that, despite London 2012 being the most watched Paralympic Games in history, no live broadcasts were shown in the United States.

Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were used to capture and share videos and pictures of people’s reactions, feelings and thoughts as they watched disability sport videos. Clips featuring exciting moments in disability sport were shared via the #HOWCOOLISTHAT YouTube account.

Early in 2013, the United Nations, with the Overseas Development Institute and World Wide Web Foundation, published "MY World", a global citizen survey to determine the major issues that would make the biggest difference in people’s lives. It included the option for participants to enter a personal priority for inclusion on the agenda during the post-2015 development discussions.

The UNOSDP encouraged people to choose a sport-related priority. They produced a poster with the text, “Our suggested priority is sport for development” and asked people to show their support by sharing photos of themselves holding the signs on social media. They published a selection of the photographs on their Facebook page, showing individuals, groups and organisations from countries as varied as Finland, Uganda and South Korea.

Palestine Marathon
Days after the historic completion of the West Bank’s first marathon, the event’s organisers, Right to Movement, launched a campaign. Through Facebook and Twitter, they asked their followers to financially support the participation of the race’s winner, Abed Al Nasar, in the Copenhagen Marathon. Within seven days, they were able to raise the $2,500 required to enable his participation.

Abed’s goal is to become a running coach in Palestine. While in Copenhagen, he was exposed to various aspects of the city’s running culture. This success helped ensure the sport is promoted in Palestine while raising the profile of the Palestine Marathon and its goal to promote freedom of movement.


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Paul Hunt


Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 23:00