Marketwired Blog

Olympics + Twitter + Controversy

We’ve already talked about social media and the so-called first Twitter Olympics. Now that London 2012 is in full swing, let’s see what’s been going on.

Controversy, that’s what.

Perhaps social media is truly causing a stir at the games. Perhaps the media is just enjoying highlighting the tawdry bits — they make for better stories, after all. (And perhaps the international press is mimicking the U.K. media, which love to stir things up.)

The latest happened when British diving superstar Tom Daley [@TomDaley1994] and his partner struggled in the 10-metre synchro diving event on Monday. Daley has more than 580,000 followers on Twitter and he’s a big name in sports in the UK.

After the event, a Twitter user called @Rileyy_69 sent him a public message remarking that he had let his father down. Daley’s father died last year of a brain tumour. So Daley retweeted the comment, calling the user an idiot — triggering 20,000 retweets of his comment and jump-starting a hashtag campaign to get the follower kicked off Twitter.

Another earlier kerfuffle was all about the opening ceremonies. For the U.S. west coast, the ceremonies were broadcast a full three hours after they happened. So while viewers and journalists from around the world were tweeting about the show in real time, Californians (and others) were forced to wait, and could not even watch it online.

UK-born, LA-based journalist Guy Adams was annoyed by all this and tweeted that the blame fell on the president of NBC. And then he tweeted Gary Zenkel’s email address. Adams’ account was promptly deleted for violating Twitter’s privacy policy.

That triggered a cascade of debates over both the airing of the ceremonies, and if Adams broke the rules at all (Twitter forbids publishing personal information, including personal email addresses: but this was a business email and Twitters rules say it’s not a violation if the address was already published on the Web).

The Olympic Games have barely begun, and there are probably a handful of social media controversies we’ve neglected to mention here, and more just around the corner.

More: Here’s another tidbit, but a positive one. According to Media Miser, 50% of Twitter comments referencing Canadian Olympic broadcaster CTV were positive. Negative comments made up 28%, while 22% were neutral.

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