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SBD Global/August 1, 2012/Olympics

Twitter In The Olympics: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Japan's Satoko Suetsuna watches badminton matches in progress with a phone in her hand at the London Games.
The IOC "has no regrets about embracing social media" for what has unofficially been dubbed as the "Twitter Games," despite the expulsion of two athletes for their tweets and others being abused online, according to Nick Mulvenney of REUTERS. IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said that the Olympics ruling would continue to encourage the use of social media around the Games, and that it was "probably powerless to stop it even if it wanted to." Adams added, "As you know the IOC, the Olympics we have about 15 million social media fans, and I think (local organisers) are doing something similar. To be frank, it'd be a little bit like King Kanute even if we said these aren't social media Games, because everyone's decided they are anyway." Adams: "Used in the right way, we embrace social media" (REUTERS, 7/31). USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno wrote thanks to the "megaphone that is social media," athletes at the London Games "are sharing their opinions -- some controversial -- and discovering how far their voices reach" (USA TODAY, 7/31). In N.Y., Ken Belson wrote, "The expulsions highlight the growing tension around the use of social media by athletes" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/30). MARKETWATCH's Sam Mamudi wrote, "Less than a week in, and it seems Twitter in particular is having more of an impact than many would have guessed" (MARKETWATCH.com, 7/31). In N.Y., Rosman, Holmes & Stewart wrote, "The untamed nature of social media is causing some headaches" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/31). In Sydney, Amanda Meade noted about 25% of Australia's 400-strong Olympic team is on Twitter. Most of those athletes "appear to be logging off Twitter before an event, and taking it up in earnest once their official competition is over" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/1).  AD WEEK's Christopher Heine noted there were more tweets in the London Games' first day than the entire '08 Beijing Olympics. Also, despite ranking 141st in world population, Jamaica is being extremely well represented on Twitter." The Caribbean country ranked only behind the U.S. with 190,000 tweets and Great Britain with 180,000 tweets in support of their athletes over the weekend (ADWEEK.com, 7/30).

ATTACKS ON DALEY: The AP noted a teenager has been arrested on suspicion of posting malicious Twitter messages directed toward British Olympic diver Tom Daley. British Olympics team leaders said that they intervened with Twitter to delete offensive messages sent to Daley. British Olympic Association spokesperson Darryl Seibel said "highly offensive and altogether unacceptable tweets" were sent to Daley after he missed a medal in the 10m synchronized platform competition Monday with teammate Peter Waterfield. Seibel said the team "immediately" contacted Twitter's management who removed the messages "very, very quickly." The first tweet told Daley that he had let his dad down with his performance, and a later tweet threatened to drown Daley. Daley's father died of brain cancer a year ago (AP, 7/31). The PA reported Daley Monday night "angrily hit out after being targeted by a Twitter troll." The first tweet read: "You let your dad down i hope you know that." Daley responded by tweeting: "After giving it my all...you get idiot's sending me this..." (PA, 7/30). The AP noted that "later the tweets became more aggressive." The second tweet read: "I'm going to find you and I'm going to drown you in the pool..." Subsequent tweets, "spiked with profanity, also take aim at the media and other Twitter users who criticized his posts" (AP, 7/31). In London, O'Neill & Booth noted Tuesday Daley and his coaches were "considering whether to take a break from Twitter altogether during competitions." BOA Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said that the "furore proved" that Daley -- who received 50,000 tweets on the day of the Opening Ceremony -- "needed to make a decision over his use of the social network website. Hunt said that Daley "would be advised to keep off Twitter" two days before he competes in individuals on Aug. 10. Hunt: "Everyone knows if you use social media extensively, you have to accept you get bad as well as good. Sometimes bad is wholly unacceptable, as we experienced last night" (LONDON TIMES, 7/31)
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