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Ready, Steady, Tweet


The first social media Olympic Games has put pressure on networks in London and seen the world’s real reaction to the greatest show on earth happen live outside the control of the old media.

If any confirmation were needed of the micro blogging platform’s status it came as Mark Cavendish lost out on an expected gold in the cycling road race. TV commentators were left in the dark as the flood of tweets from spectators interrupted the transmission of race times to broadcasters. The International Olympic Committee’s communications director, Mark Adams, was moved to ask tweeters to restrict themselves to ‘urgent updates’.

And, it wouldn’t be a Twitter story without a Twitter storm – the new word for scandal we all have to learn.

A teenager was arrested after his criticism of diver Tom Daley on the site crossed the line into illegality. And after a journalist from the Independent posted an NBC executive’s email address on the site in protest at the American broadcaster’s coverage he was suspended. This sparked a Twitter storm of its own and a few days after the #NBCFail hash tag trended Guy Adams had his account back.
No broadcast from Stratford in east London is complete without the latest tweeted reaction from viewers. And Twitter is very democratic, while it helps journalists to have easy access to the latest, bite-sized thoughts of Olympians, anyone with an Internet connection can get them straight from the horse’s mouth.

It seems too that Twitter is displacing Facebook as the place to react to the world. A study of social media reaction to the opening ceremony found 97% of it on the 140-character platform.

This stuff is brilliant for marketing and research types – 60% of the opening ceremony reaction was found to be positive for example. As Mr Bean’s appearance during the Chariots of Fire theme was the most tweeted part of the ceremony can we now expect more movies to be commissioned?

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