Month: February 2014

Pussy Riot Causes Controversy During Sochi Olympics


There was a lot controversy surrounding the Sochi Olympics. The punk rock band, Pussy Riot, started a protest against the Olympics and President Vladimir Putin. The band dressed up in bright colored ski masks and made a video protesting while singing in the streets in Sochi. The video criticized Putin for holding the Olympics, saying that it was a “public relations stunt” used to cover up the countries human rights violations. They were then violently beaten by the Russian Police for the exploit. This was the bands third attempt at shooting the video. The first two times they failed and were detained.

Pussy Riot first made headlines after they shot a video protesting Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Following this escapade, they were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for hooliganism.

Some people are calling the group attention-seekers and not referring to them as protesters. They received a lot of attention on twitter lately, and they have compiled many views on a video on YouTube of them being violently beaten by the Police. This social media attention enlightened the world to the band. I don’t know about you, but I have never heard of them. Even though they were in the spotlight for this incident, I’m sure people looked up some of their music to listen to. On a positive note, the group might have gained more fans do to this attention. A lot of people were defending them.


I think the group set themselves up for a greater consequence. They were detained the first two times trying to shoot the video, wouldn’t you think there would be more consequence the third time? I do believe that the beating was pretty harsh and could have resulted in a different way. They were beaten with whips and sprayed in the face with pepper spray until they complied. Why were the rebels not just arrested?



Viral Sochi Olympic Stories

Throughout the Sochi Olympics, as there is with any long-lasting event, there were many different social media things happening. NBC has posted on their website a list of the top 10 viral Olympic stories from Sochi.

Here is a more condensed version of those stories in terms of the social media aspects of them. Also, this only covers a few of the stories.

The first story came from Twitter and Facebook. Journalists covering the Sochi Olympics live-tweeted their hotel horror stories, which then attracted Facebook interactions. After over 400,000 interactions, #SochiFail was created. Someone even created a Twitter handle entitled @SochiProblems. The journalists’ live-tweeting contained information about brown water and broken elevators. I think it’s safe to say that any journalist covering the Sochi Olympics had a tough time.

The second story was also on Twitter. U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn, after taking a shower, was locked inside his hotel room’s bathroom. Quinn had no phone to call for help, so he punched a hole threw the door, climbed out, and then  went onto Twitter to share his experience. Quinn posted a photo of the bathroom door, and that tweet has over 29,000 retweets. Quinn said that because he had no phone, he had that use his bobsled push training to get out. Quinn once again had bad luck in Sochi. He got stuck on an elevator. This occurrence spawned #Quinning.


T.J. Oshie scores the winning goal against Russia.

Probably the most exciting part of the Sochi Olympics for the U.S. was their hockey team’s victory over Russia. T.J. Oshie, who plays for the St. Louis Blues, scored the game-winning goal against Russia. Within hours of that goal, the St. Louis Blues’ Twitter handle gained 130,000 followers. President Barack Obama even tweeted a congratulations for Oshie and the U.S. hockey team.

Those are just three of the many things that happened during the Sochi Olympics. I think that social media is evolving and growing every day, and these occurrences are good examples of that. People watch and live-tweet during events constantly. That’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s definitely growing at a high-rate.

My question is, what do you think was the most popular event at the Sochi Olympics in terms of social media?

Canadian Snowboarder, Mark McMorris named Most Popular Social Media Athlete

As the 2014 Sochi Olympics came to an end, the medal rankings reveal that Canada had a little edge over the U.S. with ten gold medals to our nine. A tough loss to Canada’s hockey team was a hot topic in the closing days of the 2014 Olympics. Not only was the sweet defeat buzzing through social media for Canada but so was another Canadian athlete.

Canadian snowboarder, Mark McMorris has been a very popular Olympic athlete throughout the social media world. According to Twitter, McMorris was ranked fifth for most mentioned athlete on the site. Japanese figure skater Mao Asada was fourth, South Korean skater Yuna Kim was third, U.S. hockey player T.J. Oshie second, and of course U.S. snowboard legend Shaun White was first. However according to Facebook Mark McMorris was at the top for social media engagements. He had the most fan interactions at 60 percent, and second was Instagram at 32%. 

On Twitter Mark was very engaged with his fans, keeping them posted as the Olympics went on. One picture in particular showing ‘The Moment Before the Moment’ Image

Mark made sure to thank his fans for all the support. Tweeting: ‘Wow this is Crazy!’ Can’t thank my fans enough’. Along with that he added a link to where they wrote the blog about the Olympic bronze medalist. 

Below shows the rankings for the Top 10 Athletes in social media according to

The use of social media throughout the 2014 Olympics was extremely prominent, especially this day in age when social networking is expanding every second of every day. I think what draws fans to these athletes is when they are able to connect with them on a certain level. When these busy Olympians take the time to acknowledge their fans through these social platforms, it makes it seem more personal. We are then able to be Connectors and feel like they are actually listening to what we have to say. Mark McMorris utilized Twitter to acknowledge his fans and to thank them, which played a role in his prominence throughout the social media world. His humbleness shows that it wasn’t necessarily his goal to be ‘most popular’ social media athlete but in the 21st century this is what we look at. 

I end this blog with a question to you, “How do you think athletes develop such prominence throughout social media? Is it because of the way they interact with fans? Or is it possibly a negative light that develops their attention on social media?  



Olympic athletes marketing impact through social media banned 2014 Sochi games.

The first big story of the Olympics wasn’t the first gold medal winners or the underlying human rights violations but more prevalent is the hash tag #sochiproblems. As the mass majority of the worlds athletes and journalists traveled to Sochi they began to find issues as unfit amenities such as questionable toilets and yellow murky tap water in the Olympic village. The hastag quickly became popular and became a Twitter account. The account @SochiProblems has grown to 340,000 followers which makes that 120,000 more followers than the actual @Sochi2014 account.

One reason why @SochiProblems might have had such a large and quick following is because the International Olympic Committee banned on athletes and other accredited personnel from posting videos or audio of events, and competitions taking place at Olympic Venues or the Olympic Village. Also participants are allowed to post content and photos, however the IOC requires that all posts must be in first-person, diary-type format. These social media restraints are put in place for only allowing participants to communicate with friends and family and supporters, but not for commercial and advertising for possible sponsors.

The Olympics are the biggest stage for any athlete and for most, it is their time to stand out, market, and brand themselves. Social media is being used and managed to limit athletes ability to brand and sponsor themselves. We can see success in the Olympics gives participants overnight followers and in turn, future sponsors. Sage Kotesenburg is an example of having gained 43,000 followers since winning the games first gold medal in snowboarding. That’s not too bad for a kid from Park City, Utah that has been riding and snowboarding for all his life now, having the exposure and following to attract large sponsors. Also athletes that have sponsorships are not allowed to post about brands unless they have been approved by the IOC.

My opinion on the social media banned for athletes is that they should be able to further themselves, their legacy, and build their brand because there is no better time to market themselves. The social media ban was initially to limit athletes talking “smack” and for talking bad about the conditions in Sochi. However I feel with the creation and popularity of #sochiproblems the media ban was less effective and ultimately hindered athletes ability to have sponsors and market themselves.

Warm up like Beyonce !

Kate Hansen had a very specific way to get ready for the luge competition. In fact, she told NBC her ‘strictly Beyonce’ playlist helps her get fierce and stoked for competition. The 21 year old athlete from Brigham Yound University placed in the top 10 at the Sochi Olympics, so it seems like listening to Beyonce was a good way to get ready for the competition, right? But not everyone had the same opinion. After her interview on NBC and the videos of her dancing posted on Vine; it looked like her “dancing” was not the best image of an athlete in the professional sport world.

Warm up like Beyonce

The former luger Duncan Kennedy said he’d like to see a more ‘sport-specific’ warm-up from Hansen as well as the NBC commentator. And then, internet and social medias happened and people from the sport industry started to make comments about her routine but she also got support from people who disagree with the NBC comments. It became such a huge topic on the social media that she got a Facebook post from the diva herself saying “Go Kate”.

Beyonce's Facebook post Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 12.36.43 PM

Tweet But the young athlete did not look like she was affected by all this attention on the social media planet. She said she won’t stop dancing and she also posted an interesting tweet saying she will definitely exchange being part of the next Olympics with being a dancer on tour for one year with Beyonce.

The official NBC website even puts Kate Hansen’s warm up dance in the top moments of the Olympics. It shows how much this little video on the social media grabbed the attention of everyone.

So Kate, winning a gold medal or becoming a back up dancer for Beyonce, I think it is time to choose.


What’s The Buzz: Sochi’s Social Media Medalists

Sochi SM

With the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in the rearview mirror, social media has established the basis for many of us to still stay connected to the athlete’s we came to know and love. In fact, social media played such a significant role in Sochi that popular media source Media Miser has gifted us with a breakdown of which athletes took home the gold in the eyes of their followers.

MediaMiser collected and tracked over 4 million Olympic related tweets worldwide over the course of the games. The goal of the study was to determine which athletes were most popular amongst Twitter users as well as which events received the most hype. 

                To no one’s surprise, MediaMiser’s study showed that the most mentioned event of the Sochi games was Ice Hockey.  Roughly 45% of all event related tweets mentioned the fan favorite sport. In a not so close second place, Curling took home the silver receiving 12% of all event mentions.  Other events such as figure skating, freestyle skiing, bobsledding and ski jumping all received the least amount of social media limelight. 

                Now the real question is…who were the most mentioned athletes in Sochi?  From a social media standpoint, the winners of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze were all United States superstars.  American hockey star TJ Oshie received rough 21% of all mentions followed by Charlie White and Meryl Davis. Canada’s poster child and hockey team captain Sidney Crosby fell a few percent’s short of medaling in the Social Media Mention race receiving 12% of all athlete mentions.

                All in all MediaMiser’s study proved to be quite beneficial in determining what exactly encourages interactivity among a large majority of Twitter users.

No shirt, no shoes, no problem?

Don’t you think it would be a little too cold to pose for semi-nude photos on the top of a ski slope? Apparently Jackie Chamoun didn’t think so! The Lebanese Olympian skier got herself into a little publicity fiasco when pictures of her posing topless in her ski gear for an Austrian calendar. The photos were taken 3 years ago, but obviously surfaced once she was participating in the Olympics. The Lebanese minister of youth and sports ordered an investigation after hearing about the photos.

With all of the media uproar about the situation, some fans decided to show support for her during this time. After all, we all make mistakes, were all human. That’s when #stripforjackie came in to play. Tons of people took to twitter to express how they felt about the situation. Thousands of people took pictures of themselves clothed, nude, and semi-nude, posting them on social media with #SripForJackie attached to show their support. The campaign as a whole is called “I am not naked”

Personally, I see nothing wrong with her actions. People worship celebrities that go out and do risqué things every single day. Jackie decided one time to do something out of the norm and all of a sudden people make it out to seem like she’s an awful person. There are far worse issues going around all over the country, but everyone makes a big fuss about an athlete standing in the snow with her breasts out. To me, this whole ordeal just reinforced the fact that this world needs to get their priorities straight. This is an awesome campaign, and I hope to see Jackie take charge and go further with it.

Sponsoring an Olympics seems like a no brainer, right?

Social Media, Twitter #SochiProblems

Social Media, Twitter #SochiProblems

Being a sponsor for the Olympics seems like a no brainer. In 2012, Budweiser hosted a party and it was a hit! The U.S. men’s basketball team was on the dance floor dancing to Queen’s, “We will Rock You.”  CBS released an article stating the controversy that sponsors are facing. They said, “Several factors are casting a shadow across the Winter Olympics before the games have even began, from terrorism fears to anger over the country’s anti-gay laws.” Journalist from CBS complained about the undrinkable water and the wild dogs that are roaming the streets of Sochi. Most sponsors are staying on the sidelines with the disputes over Russia’s anti-LGBT and other human right issues. Sponsors are not sure that they want to be associated with all the problems. As the problems have become more prevalent, there has been a hashtag sent out using #SochiProblems. Being a sponsor for the Olympics is a huge investment, costing companies around $20 million dollars. Coca-Cola and Chobani are running into controversy’s regarding Sochi. Coca-Cola is struggling with the Russian culture, because their Super Bowl ad features a gay family and Russia has a law forbidding gay-right. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University said,” Well, this is all just a terribly awkward situation for the sponsors.” Chobani on the other hand, is struggling with getting their products to Russia. Chobani sent over 5,000 cups of their Greek yogurt but Sochi said that they did not receive the paperwork from the U.S. that it requires.

#SochiProblems has taken off as a trending topic on twitter.  #SochiProblems already has 337,000 followers and still counting.  This account is showing its followers the baffling photos found in hotel rooms, and the 15 feet deep manholes on the streets of Sochi. One reporter tweeted pictures of light fixtures in his hotel room falling from the ceiling. This twitter page also talks about the fifth Olympic ring mishap during the opening ceremony. JonnyQuinn, a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team was trapped in a bathroom with no phone or way to call for help. He had to smash the door open and posted the photo on twitter.

Needless to say, Sochi has been an Olympics we will never forget.

Athletes Use of Social Media in the Olympics

As Sochi prepared to host many olympics athletes from all over the world, they weren’t ready for the negative social media that they got right away. Many of the journalists who traveled to Sochi were disappointed with what they were arriving to. Several journalists tweeted that only 6 of the 9 hotels that were set aside for the journalists were ready for them and many didn’t have rooms finished or water to use. This lead to the creation of #SochiProplems and @SochiProblems on Twitter. Even before they arrived, one of the Olympic Committee members told journalists that the use of social media would result in them losing their credentials and those caught using social media would be banned from the winter games. This forced the Olympic Committee to clarify their stance and later said they encourage the use of social media. All this negativity wasn’t the way that Sochi wanted to start the Olympic games off with. 


However, the athletes use of social media more than made up for the negativity that it started out with. I followed Ryan Miller, the Team USA goalie, throughout the Olympics and his use on his Twitter account. He posted many pictures throughout the Olympics, anything from getting ready to leave the US for Russia, to the new gear he got for the Olympics and his dog wearing his goalie mask. It was really entertaining to see his posts throughout the Olympics because it gave you a unique insight into what the USA Hockey team was doing on a daily basis as well as what he was doing. I really enjoyed seeing the different pictures that he posted because it made me feel like I was actually there for a moment through those pictures. Ultimately, this was his goal, to use Twitter to connect with friends, fans, and family who couldn’t make the trip and still make them all feel like they could share his experiences that he was having. 


I really enjoyed how he used social media to connect to fans. I think athletes use of social media is great because it allows for there to be a more personal connections to fans like myself. The question I have is does athletes use of social media make you feel like you have a more personal connection with that athlete because of their pictures, etc?