The countdown to this year’s Olympic Games in Rio has begun, with the Olympic Flame taking to Twitter to announce the start of the relay.

At 5.30am UK time the flame sent its first tweet in anticipation of the lighting ceremony in southern Greece. Within a few hours the previously mute flame had amassed over 2,000 followers and started a journey that will end at the opening ceremony on 5 August.

The account is a new way for people around the world to follow the Olympic Flame during its travels to Rio. Roughly 12,000 people will carry the torch in the next few months, and the first – gymnast Petrounias Elefthe – posted a video to celebrate the occasion.

Over 700 people have also watched a strangely quiet and stop-start Periscope broadcast live from the lighting ceremony. The account’s bio promises that there’ll be more videos on Periscope and Vine throughout the relay.

The Olympic Flame isn’t the first high profile object to have been given a Twitter profile and its own personality. Ahead of the 2014 World Cup adidas created an account for Brazuca, the tournament’s official football. The ball’s posts helped it amass 2.9m followers from around the world, no doubt helped by posting in both English and Portuguese – Brazil’s main language. The flame has a separate account for Portuguese speakers which could stand in way of them getting the same size following.

The flame will arrive in Brazil on 3 May to begin a 100-day journey around the country, travelling through 500 cities and villages in all of the country’s states.