The Olympics: A Social Media Minefield

The Olympics has barely even got going yet, and already the social media buzz surrounding it is causing quite a stir. Another day, and another story about an athlete/ journalist/ fan who has landed in hot water due to their tweet/ status update/ or general social media usage.

With London 2012 dubbed as the first social media Olympic Games, it leaves me wondering if social media etiquette should have been covered in athletes official training. Although lets be honest, they have enough on their minds. One Olympic swimmer has already cited Facebook and Twitter for affecting her performance and keeping her from the gold!

Here’s a round up of some of the headlining social media mishaps so far:

Greek athlete Voula Papachristou was sent home on 25th after she posted a ‘racist’ message on Twitter. The  triple jump champion retweeted a message from a far-right politician which criticised the Greek prime minister’s stance on immigration. She later apologised for offending anyone, but after receiving over 100 re-tweets, the damage to her reputation was already done.

In a similar situation, the Swiss Olympian Michel Morganella was sent home after posting remarks about South Korea following South Korea’s defeat of the Swiss soccer team. The soccer player apologised in an official statement saying he was “truly sorry for the people in South Korea, for footballers, but also for the Swiss delegation and the Swiss football in general.”

A teenager in the UK is now facing charges for sending malicious Tweets to British Olympian Tom Daly after he failed to secure the gold medal in the 10m synchronised platform diving event.

Fans watching the men’s cycling were blamed for hogging the GPRS network which had a knock on effect to the BBC coverage of the event. Organisers called for people to only send essential tweets and messages when in the area, as the network couldn’t cope with the increased demand, and the cyclists GPS information couldn’t get through to event commentators.

And finally, journalist Guy Adams had his account suspended after posting personal information about an NBC executive following the #NBCFail fiasco. NBC has been accused of fudging up coverage of the Olympics for audiences in the US by delaying some footage for their prime time reel. One mistake they made was showing an interview with a recent gold medal winner before showing footage of her winning the 100 meter backstroke race. Doh!

It has now come to light that NBC were alerted about the tweet from Guy Adams by Twitter, leading many to question the value of freedom of speech, and just how cosy Twitter is with NBC.

So there you have it, all of the Olympic drama without any of the sport!

What do you think of social media usage at the Olympics?