The 31st Olympiad taking pace in Rio de Janiero, Brazil has just begun, and the Olympic ideal of cooperation through competition is happening right before our eyes. It reminds us of the @eksays ideal of the future of business in social media – that collaboration eventually surpasses competition. Not necessarily in a purely literal sense, as businesses will continue to compete to differentiate themselves, but in the sense that when we look at the big picture we are all better off when we all benefit.

It’s not a new concept. Yeah, the Olympic ideal comes from ancient Greece! and the modern Olympics date to the 19th century. Remember corporate ‘strategic partnerships’ from the 80s? Maybe you don’t. 🙂 Suffice to say that the spirit of collaboration and cooperation is not foreign to humans. In fact, at times it’s been essential to our survival. Now the Olympics are not life-and-death, and neither is survival of business. It sure makes sense, though, to take an easier, cooperative, collaborative approach as opposed to hyper-competitively going it alone. As I write this, I am watching three woman cyclists in the Olympic Women’s Roadrace collaborating to catch the race leader. Their collaboration has an edge, because one of the four women in the final sprint ends up in fourth place. No medal, no reward.

There are certain parallels between Olympic ideals and social media ideation. Although Olympians are the best of the best, elite athletes far above mortal humans, at the Olympic Games they are back to an even playing field, because they are meeting the finest competitors from around the world. The best of human spirit is demonstrated in acceptance of all in Olympic competition, even athletes with no nation-home to call their own. Anything can happen – this is the truth of sports and competition. It’s similar to the mass of humanity we find on social media, in a way. It’s a fairly level field of play and we jockey for position in visibility and influence. It’s true for our personal brands and for businesses too. Is social media the Olympic Village of the world? That place where we all meet, as friends and competitors. As foils and collaborators.

Now it’s time for the #SMXChat Parade of Nations! Carry your flag tall and proud.

P.S. The three cyclists together caught up with and passed the leader with about 100 meters to go. Their collaboration paid off for each of them, medalists all!

Q1) Do you think Olympic ideals are paralleled in social media? Why/Why not? #SMXChat

Q2) Olympic athletes demonstrate uncanny humility. Do you think their example applicable in social media? #SMXChat

Follow up: Does Olympic athletes’ humility seem genuine and sincere? How do they do that?

Q3) Has social media around Olympic events caught your attention? To what effect?  #SMXChat

Q4) Is a sporting attitude of value in a social media context? In what way? #SMXChat

Follow up: What Olympic event/athlete matches you/your social style?

Q5) Imagine being broadcast around the globe. Do you behave differently than usual? Do you think Olympic athletes do? #SMXChat