Twitter versus the Olympics

Matt Pitchford Contributor
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Twitter is causing problems for Olympic organizers in London and for news networks in the U.S.

During coverage of the cycling road race, commentator Chris Boardman was left using his own watch to estimate the times for riders, since the volume of tweets, texts and Facebook updates overloaded the network that sent the information from tiny GPS transmitters in competitors’ bikes to organizers.

The Guardian reports that International Olympic Committee Communications Director Mark Adams said: “From my understanding, one network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.”

Adams told The Associated Press, “We should have foreseen that,” and said that organizers seem to have solved the problem.

At home in the United States, Mashable reports that fan fury over NBC’s Olympic coverage grew on Sunday. #NBCfail has become a trending topic on Twitter with complaints against the U.S. broadcaster overshadowing discussion of the games.

For example, Mediate reported about criticism of NBC’s decision to cut away from the opening ceremony’s tribute of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London in favor of showing a Ryan Seacrest interview of Michael Phelps.

Even corporate has been getting involved. Jim Bell, the long-time “Today” show executive producer who has taken over running Olympics coverage from star producer Dick Ebersol, has taken to responding directly to critics on Twitter.





Regardless, NBC probably shouldn’t expect a gold medal for its Olympic coverage.

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