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SBD Global/July 20, 2012/Olympics

Mood Ring: Nightly Olympic Light Show Will Be Dictated By British Tweeters

The mood of the British tweeting public during the Olympics and Paralympics "will dictate what colour the London Eye turns every evening at 9pm, in the world's first social media driven light show," according to Emma Barnett of the London TELEGRAPH. A group of MIT graduates and Univ. of Wolverhampton professor Mike Thelwall, who is “an expert in social media linguistic analysis, have been tracking all U.K.-based Olympic-related tweets for the last couple of months.” Thelwall and the graduates, who "run an art and technology company called Sosolimited, have been commissioned to develop an intuitive algorithm to track the sentiment of British tweeters about the Olympics by EDF Energy, the official electricity supplier" of the London Games. The team will "create the ‘world’s first social media driven light show,’ called ‘Energy of the Nation’ on the London Eye (which EDF sponsor).” From tonight onwards at 9pm London time, there "will be a 30-minute light show projected onto the London Eye.” It will happen “at the same time every single evening leading up to and during the Olympics and Paralympics.” The algorithm “splits the tweets into positive and negative conversations and filters them through a programme, which systematically converts them into a lightshow.” The colors of the lights “will be dictated in real time by the mood of the people tweeting about the Olympics.” If the overall sentiment is negative, the London Eye "will glow purple.” If it is positive, it “will shine yellow and if the Twitter reaction to the Games is neutral, the wheel will emit green rays” (TELEGRAPH, 7/19).

A SOCIAL EVENT: In London, Sam Jones reported U.S. hurdler Kerron Clement dispelled any "lingering criticism over claims" that London 2012 would prove the first proper social media Olympics. Clement used Twitter to "bemoan the fact that the coach he was on was taking an awfully long time to find its way from the airport to the athletes' village." His observations were seized by the media "as further proof of Olympic teething troubles," but they also reveal the ease with which "athletes can now express their emotions." Although the Beijing Games "hardly went unremarked" on Twitter and Facebook, the past four years have seen an "explosion in the sites' use, be it personal, professional or corporate." British Olympians Tom Daley and Rebecca Adlington have more than 320,000 followers between them and have used Twitter to post "pictures from inside the athletes' village." Social media have also provided sportspeople from around the world with a "quick and convenient way" to thank their sponsors (GUARDIAN, 7/19). MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph reported Nike is to launch a series of "real-time promoted tweets" during the USA men's basketball games at London 2012 in a bid to "tap into the exposure" the sporting event will generate across the globe. The sportswear company is running the tweets as part of its '#RiseAbove' campaign on the micro-blogging site. When the U.S. men's team is playing, Nike will include "spontaneous tweets about the Games in its promoted tweets so that users tweeting about matches will be able to see their posts." Although Nike is a non-sponsor they have been using Olympic athletes such as Luol Deng and Mo Farah in their "Make it Count" Twitter campaign to "take advantage of the Olympics without contravening rules." The company's plans come as LOCOG and Twitter remain in talks about "how to ensure the micro-blogging site will not be used for ambush marketing during the Games" (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 7/19).
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