Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twitter Olympics

Welcome to the Twitter-lympics. Wish C and R could say they coined the word, but a quick Google search shows a lot of other people are picking up that the most important story about the 2012 Olympics is the social micro-blogging site, Twitter.

First, we had the American broadcaster responsible for showing the games on TV, NBC, make the boneheaded decision to not show the opening ceremony live. Then when they did show it on the East coast hours later, they further fractured the US by delaying it to start in prime time in each time zone. Poor Hawaii was still watching it when competitions began the next day.

Worse, NBC responded to the resulting criticism for the opening ceremony delays by saying they needed to edit it to provide context. The inane chatter from Bob Costas and Matt “Rwanda seems to have put that genocide behind them” Lauer had to hurt their case more than help. That and 200 commercial breaks right at peak times further hurt their position.

Many complained that day, on Twitter of course. All of us did, but one got singled out.
One journalist, Guy Adams, complained so hard about NBC that Twitter suspended his account. To be fair to Twitter, they said Adams posted the email address of an NBC executive, and private info is not allowed to be tweeted. Adams said he came up with the corporate email address by using Google and figuring out the complicated pattern of using first name, a period, then the last name, and “@nbcuni.com”. Then twitter unsuspended him. Conspiracy theorists have a field day saying NBC “forced” Twitter to censor him. Someone on Twitter gets the last laugh by creating “NBC Live Fail” and gets 1,000 followers in about an hour. They don’t get suspended.

Meanwhile, Twitter keeps giving out real time results and NBC keeps pretending you don’t know. NBC asks, “What will happen next?” and “Will the United States win a medal?” and “Can we set a record for how many times we mention Michael Phelps in one breath?”

So many people were using Twitter during an Olympic bicycle race that media officials couldn’t get the GPS signals of where the bikes were, and hence had scant coverage. Bet they could have just sent a Twitter post and asked everyone on Twitter where the leaders were.

Twitter even got at least two athletes (at this writing) banned from the Olympics. Granted they were making racists remarks about other countries on Twitter, but still. The Greek Track and Field woman’s comments were just downright bigoted to Africans and perhaps should have been used as a teachable moment instead of being kicked out of the games. But the Swiss soccer player tended to incited violence by saying he wanted to “beat up” South Koreans and that they should “burn.” Yeah, maybe he shouldn’t be in the Olympic Village.

And what about US athletes, who have the whole freedom of speech to fall back on? Well, of course America wouldn’t be America without a Twitter controversy. US Women’s Soccer Goalie Hope Solo tweeted some downright rude comments to “national treasure” Brandi Chastain, because Brandi as a commentator made disparaging remarks about the defense, in particular Rachel Bueler. Brandi did have a point about Team USA’s defense, and said it was her job as commentator to comment. Hope Solo was a might sensitive and went a little nutso on Twitter. Mainstream Media, who follows Hope Solo not so much for her athletic performance but because she is so darn attractive, took great notice. Within 3 hours there were 20 articles about the feud. Eventually, the Women’s Coach pulled Hope in and gave her a slap on the wrist and no punishment. By the way, Australian Basketball Star Lauren Jackson, who plays in the WNBA, took umbrage to commentator Lisa Leslie’s comments during a game and some Twitter comments flew back and forth. No one in the mainstream media noticed, as no one was named Hope Solo or has those smoldering eyes. (Poor women’s basketball, always a distant second). --And just Google the women to find out what they said.

But for all the other American athletes not named Hope Solo, they are super burned by the so-called “Rule 40”. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) bans any Olympic Athlete from using their names or likenesses for advertising during the games. The rule is in effect from July 18 to Aug 15, three days after the closing ceremonies. They even amended the rule to say you can’t mention any sponsor of yours on Twitter. However, official sponsors that give money to the Olympics may be mentioned and are encouraged to be mentioned on Twitter. So you can mention sponsors, but only the official ones. So no saying thanks to the organizations that actually got you to the Olympics. Many America athletes have taken to, yes, Twitter to protest, with the hastags “WeDemandChange2012” and “Rule40.”

Twitter continues to be the place where C and R get their results. Why? Because Twitter talks back to us. We can ask, “What time is the Women’s Soccer game being broadcast on TV?” And Twitter buddies will be quick with the answer. Or we can ask, “What is wrong with the whole first string of the US Women’s Basketball team that Geno substitutes all 5 out at once and the ‘scrubs’ have to save the day?” Then a lively discussion ensues. Using a static website like NBC Live just tells you when something is about to happen or implores you to “look at our latest pictures.” Twitter gets results and lets you have conversations. And we can find things out in real time.

Go Team Twitter

Follow C and R on, surprise, Twitter!

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