This year’s Olympics is putting Twitter to the test. In a partnership with NBC, they’re the most visible social network of the games and it’s led them to some huge highs and some deep, deep lows. And we’re only 3 days in.
It began on Friday, when nearly 10 million people Tweeted about the start of the Olympics. Or 5 million, depending on who you want to believe. The lower number comes from Bluefin. They’re putting together excellent infographics for each day outlining the Twitter numbers and highlighting the highs and lows of the social graph.
The difference in the first day numbers is probably semantics. Bluefin appears to be counting only Opening Ceremony Tweets where Twitter UK is counting all Olympic mentions for the day. (Feel free to correct me if that’s wrong.)
Either way, Twitter is winning but NBC, not so much. Viewers have been sending angry posts under the hashtag #nbcfail. Most of the complaints were related to NBC’s decision to air the top events on a tape delay. They did this to capitalize on the number of viewers in prime time. One problem, we live in a world where news travels around the globe in seconds, so there is no way to keep event results a secret, especially when the athletes themselves are Tweeting about their wins.
The ire of #nbcfail was stoked Sunday when Vivian Schiller, NBC’s recently hired chief digital officer, retweeted a message that said “the medal for most Olympic whining goes to everyone complaining about what happens every 4 yrs., tape delay.”
Not smart to bite the hand that feeds you. And seriously, NBC’s chief digital officer didn’t know enough not to get involved in social media mud slinging? Right or wrong, NBC and all of its employees need to step away from the keyboard when the crowd gets ugly.
Now, a journalist is accusing Twitter of shutting down his account because he was critical of NBC and their handling of the Olympics. Turns out he was shut down because he Tweeted an NBC exec’s email address.
Then there’s this crazy headline: Don’t tweet if you want TV, London fans told. Apparently, rampant live Tweeting during the men’s cycling road race interfered with the GPS the newscasters use to track the race. A spokesman for the IOC told fans,
“Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say ‘Don’t, you can’t do it’, and we would certainly never prevent people. It’s just – if it’s not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.”
Let’s end on an up note, Bluefins social graph of the Tweets during the opening ceremonies:
Honestly, the poor folks at Twitter are going to need a vacation when this is over.