The Digital Skeptic: Twitter's Olympic Collapse
NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The 2012 London Olympics was supposed to be top time for Twitter.
The company invested in --- brace yourself -- actual human-curated content. How will they show themselves in "new media" circles after such outrageous antics? But if you visit #Olympics you will find a very un-Twitter, old-media-like staff of pro tweet pickers agglomerating all things Olympics on the microblogging service.
I think you will agree that the pick of the five-ring Tweet litter -- what I culled from the company blog -- is a fascinating and fresh perspective of this ancient spectacle.
Twitter has also made a point of playing nice with other media, old and new. On the nouveau side, the Google+ hangout with athletes such as Usain Bolt works. There is an an effective use of mobile apps, and nice support for the @London2012 feed with just under 1.2 million or so followers. I even liked the specific feeds for @L2012boxing, @L2012Volleyball or, my sport, @L2012sailing. (I know, I'm a geek. What can I say?)On the old-media side, the company stepped down from its social media Mount Olympus. Chloe Sladden, Twitter's oh-so-hip vice president for media, made the PR rounds announcing that her company had inked a deal with Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC. "Twitter has become the roar of the crowd during live sporting events," she said in a company release. Twitter has even run -- shock of shocks -- traditional TV commercials during the Olympic coverage. It all got me thinking, maybe, just maybe, this social media service was finally outgrowing its embarrassing adolescent belligerence. And investors might be looking at a mature company ready for fat IPO payday. With the games solidly under way, though, my hope was clearly just so many tweets in the wind. Twitter at the big games just raises more big questions. Twitter, like Icarus, gets too close to the Olympics blaze.
Forget five rings of action -- Twitter at the Olympics feels like a 50-ring circus. Following the information this service produces is almost like following no information at. If found it very, very difficult -- and I do this sort of thing for a living -- to parse the different forms of Olympics content on Twitter. Top search engine results for terms "Twitter Olympics" yields a Twitter feed that I think is for the Olympic museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. But I could be wrong. There is also a U.S. Olympic team feed. There is the AP Sports Olympics feed. And let's not forget the athletes' own feeds, like Rebecca Soni's. She is a swimmer. But the information seemed all the same. There's a USA Today index of Twitter feeds. Oh, wait ... my bad. That was for another year's Olympics -- but again, I am not exactly sure.
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