THE BLOG
08/20/2012 03:42 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2012

Admit It!!!

ADMIT IT!!!

I did already and will again....

I was addicted to the London Olympics... in fact, so was my whole family.

So don't be embarrassed that you watched some of it... no matter how cheesy you think it was.

Don't feel bad. The truth is you are only one of close to 5 billion people who, at one time or another during the event, tuned in and viewed the games and all the resultant hoopla.

How about this: If you live in the UK, you were part of the 90% of the country who watched the Games and its bookended ceremonies -- a way higher percentage than watched the Queen's Jubilee or the recent royal wedding. The biggest TV event ever.

And if you live in the U.S. and were an Olympic fan, you participated in the most watched television event in history. And, although globally the numbers by country were not as high as the biggest ever, some 220 countries broadcast the games and audience viewership was strong.

Semantics.

I have used the words "watch" and "television" on purpose. Because that is what our intimate group of 5 billion fellow Olympic fans did -- and by the way, the two biggest sources were those old-fashioned networks (dare I say platforms?) BBC in the UK and NBC in the U.S.

However, as my loyal readers know -- there is no contradiction here -- digital is everything, but not everything is digital. Ergo, of course, the broadcasts were digital and of course they were "streamed" across more digital channels and outlets than you could imagine -- but at the end of the pipe, wherever it was, there was a viewer or more likely multiple viewers who were engaging (listen to the word) with what? THE CONTENT -- THE EMOTION -- THE EXCITEMENT - -and frankly paid not one second's worth of thought as to whether or not they were supposed to be digitally interactive with it. Get the point?

Now having said that, here is what makes it even more exciting.

Four years ago -- Beijing Olympics -- Facebook... 100 million followers. London? Close to a billion -- in only four years, the number of Olympic posts and comments are too numerous to even count.

I'd be ready to bet (those who wonder about the ad power of Facebook take note) that shared excitement drove viewership -- in fact, of course it did -- what the hell drives anything more than sharing between people -- Facebook gets it.

"Sports events are inherently social... we're never fans alone. We root together, celebrate together and sometimes commiserate together," says Justin Osofsky, Facebook's director of platform partnerships and operations.

The joke is that analysts and others with their own agenda still don't get this and dismiss the inherent power of the events themselves.

Twitter had a great run -- with over 150 million tweets (some really bad...) and the highlight being some 80,000 tweets a minute after Usain Bolt won gold in the 200.

However, to me the most exciting news from the digital domain was in the U.S. where one in five viewers used some sort of a device -- computer, tablet, smartphone -- to share/interact (social -- LOL) with the content they were watching on bigger HD screens -- often in groups -- and live streaming of the Olympics led many Americans to try things they never had before. Three-fourths of people who streamed the Olympics on their tablets never played videos on those devices before. Eighty-three percent never did it on smartphones.

And, by the way, when you stream online, not only don't you erode the so-called TV audience -- it actually grows.

"What ESPN and other networks have found is that, when you broadcast things live online, it doesn't erode the broadcast at all.... In fact, it draws a lot of people to want to see it on their hi-def TVs in their living rooms," says John Ourand, Sports Business Daily media reporter. Bottom line?

TV isn't dead -- not nearly. Social is what we do and Facebook makes our primal urge that much more efficient and powerful, and content is what drives the emotion that triggers the desire/need to share. And even when we know the outcome -- we still watch because the drama is what sucks us in and involves/engages us... not someone's digital engagement strategy.

"When you go to a production of Romeo and Juliet, you know they're going to be dead at the end. But you go because you want to watch the process. The storylines draw you in," states Robert J. Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University.

So here is the thing... listen:

"Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about." Oscar Wilde

Seems to me that the one thing that holds us back; that limits our development; that slows down our ability to really make use of the great technologies that we have at hand is that we pontificate about them and what we think they should do... let life be -- and by the way -- Facebook's stock will rise.

What do you think?