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Twitter and London 2012

Posted: August 1, 2012 | No Comments »

Twitter Olympics

LOCOG, The organisers of the London 2012 Olympics were quite proud of the fact that the London Olympics would be the first Twitter Games. The hugely popular micro-blogging site would be the focus of social commentary and communication, throughout the games, and hashtags were #everywhere.
Twitter was the favourite social media site for conversations about the opening ceremony.
Then something went wrong. The negative aspects of digital communication were amplified to the world.

1) Network

The BBC Mens road race coverage was shit. We blamed the BBC. The BBC blamed the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS). OBS blamed Twitter. I blame the Network, it simply can’t cope with the amount of people using mobile data.

2) Trolls

Trolls have been around since Usenet. Everyone who has ever been on a forum knows not to feed the troll. However bad that persons online behaviour is, it is their right to communicate their opinion. You just ignore it. Or if you are Tom Daly, you can retweet it. The police now seem to take a Dorset teenagers tweets as a credible threat. People who genuinely seek to kill others, don’t tell them that in advance, using Twitter. The police seem to not want to arrest actual criminals, but I digress.

3) Celebrity Athletes

Tom Daly retweeted the trolls evil diatribe (140 characters or less) and thereby guaranteed himself a ton of publicity and support, despite not winning us a medal. Hold on, he came out of this rather well. Celebrities play Twitter like a PR game. There is also the proliferation of useless but fascinating information. Usain Bolt tweeted about his craving for chicken. American hurdler Lolo Jones revealed she’s a virgin. Maybe TeamGB should get off the iPhone and concentrate on winning. I hardly think the Chinese athletes are allowed to use Twitter. Such a tool of procrastination can’t be conducive to elite athletes winning golds. The rest of the athletes are actively encouraged to “take part in social media and to post, blog and tweet their experiences
Here is the PDF issued by the IOC

4) Sponsors

The Olympic Athletes got hit with Rule 40 – Rule 40 means athletes in London can’t mention non-Olympic sponsors. Of course, this is never going to work, as Dr Dre proved by getting his Beats Headphones all up in everyone’s grills. Tennis player Laura Robson tweeted about receiving her headphones, although the post now appears to have been removed from her Twitter account, as did football goalkeeper Jack Butland, who tweeted: “Love my GB Beats by Dre.” (Guardian). Then news that LOCOG was going after Oddbins told us that they really were that petty.
Nike launched a lovely campaign called ‘Find Your Greatness’. If only Oddbins had the cash.


5) Twitter Needs Revenue

Twitter cut a deal with NBCUniversal on a special “insiders” stream of Olympics-related tweets. This was for no money, but obviously Twitter would gain advertising revenue. This was fine until the British journalist Guy Adams posted negative tweets about NBC.
“America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics”
“I have 1000 channels on my TV. Not one will be showing the Olympics opening ceremony live. Because NBC are utter, utter bastards.”
Twitter employees alerted NBC staff and then suspended his account
Jeff Jarvis wrote a brilliant post about the debacle. You can read it here
The 2012 games have shown us, within one week, that Twitter is no different than any other communication channel, it needs to be monetized, it needs partners, it needs to censor and it can be used to makes the games better and indeed worse.
My all time favourite tweet it still the tweet which proves the power of Twitter as the defacto real-time info source.

Twitter user @ReallyVirtual unwittingly reported the capture and execution of the worlds most wanted terrorist.
Half man half fish Ryan Lochte still has a long way to go:

God bless Twitter.

Related External Links

Olympics Official Twitter

Twitter: Our approach to Trust & Safety and private information

IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines for participants and other accredited persons at the London 2012 Olympic Games (PDF)

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