social media

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.

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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?

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Women’s Hockey More Popular Than Men’s?

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On February 20th the United States took on Canada in the women’s hockey gold medal game, and the following day the same two countries faced off in the men’s semi-final. Both the U.S. and Canada are very passionate about hockey, but it is thought that the men’s game is more cared about than the women’s. According to an analysis done on the social media management tool HootSuite, that may not be the case.

More people took to social media to mention the women’s gold medal game than did for the men’s semi-final game between the U.S. and Canada. (Canada won both games) The women’s game may have been a little bit more exciting, as it was ended in overtime on a goal by Canada’s Marie-Phillip Poulin. This game was mentioned over 121,000 times on social media, while the men’s game which ended in a 1-0 Canadian win, was mentioned 109,000 times.

Although the women’s game was more popular on social media, the male hockey players were more popular than the female athletes. The most talked about female hockey player was Hilary Knight, a United States forward. She was mentioned 7,063 times on social media. Compare this to the most mentioned male hockey player Carey Price, the Canadian goalie, who was mentioned over 25,000 times. That’s a difference of about 18,000 mentions between the most popular male and female hockey player.

So what we can take form this analysis is that the women’s game definitely generated more buzz via social media, but at the end of the day the well-known popular male hockey players still get mentioned more than the women athletes. So just because the women’s hockey game outdid the men’s on social media, doesn’t necessarily mean it is more popular than men’s hockey. It is very eye-opening and surprising to see that the women’s game did in fact generate more buzz than the men’s game, and it will be interesting to see in future Olympic Games if this continues to be the case.

From Sochi to Stardom

Now that the 2014 Winter Olympic games are over, it is clear that Sochi not only set the stage for athletes to be watched during their events; the eyes were also now on social media.  From simple selfies, wolf hoaxes, being trapped in bathrooms, and everything in between, the social media presence was one that has never been seen before for an Olympic games.

If you were not paying particular attention to the games, you might think that “being trapped in bathrooms” was a misprint, but it definitely happened.  U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn was taking a shower and when the door either became locked or jammed, trapping the Olympian inside.  Quinn then “used his bobsled push training” to escape from the bathroom, destroying the door to escape.  The bobsledder took to Twitter to share his experience, saying “I knew when I posted that photo I’d probably get a couple of retweets, a couple of funny comments, but nothing to the extent of what has happened.”  The post has received tens of thousands of favorites and retweets, making Quinn an overnight viral sensation.

Ski slopestyle silver medalist Gus Kenworthy also made a splash on Twitter, with maybe the biggest “aww” moment of the Olympics, especially for dog lovers.  Kenworthy posted pictures of himself with stray dogs, with one in particular gaining attention.  The picture is of him sleeping with his medal that he earned, and one of the puppies that he is adopting, Rosa, draped on his chest.  Kenworthy as since finalized arrangements to adopt five dogs from Sochi, four puppies and their mother.  Between winning the silver medal, and all of the great publicity from his Twitter, Kenworthy had himself an Olympics to remember.

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It was not only the newcomers that added to their followers, however.  U.S. hockey player T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues, who had the big shootout performance against Russia, saw himself become an even bigger and more recognized star in the hockey world, gaining 130,000 followers since his performance.

The unique combination of social media and the Olympics this year has propelled many athletes into the worldwide spotlight, whether they won multiple medals or none at all.  This shows the great impact that social media has had on sports, and most other topics in the world.

No Cable? No Problem! Stay Tuned on Twitter

Like the majority of college students in the world, I am a little low on monetary funds and have had to make some tough financial choices throughout my four years. For instance, I now only allow myself to purchase things that are on sale, sometimes I even cut coupons! One of the more difficult choices I’ve made to save money was deciding to forgo cable. I know, I know, how does she do it you ask? Well, I accomplish this feat with a great deal of Netflix and a little bit of mooching off of my friends.  However, when it came to the winter Olympics, spending every day at a friend’s house monopolizing their TV was not an option.

Luckily, the Olympics took to social media and cable was no longer a necessity to stay up-to-date on the games!

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@Sochi2014 is a twitter account created to constantly update followers on every aspect of the Winter Games. The account tweeted and posted pictures pertaining to every aspect of the Winter Games including:

  • the opening ceremony
  • the closing ceremony
  • the Sochi 2014 Bear
  • daily schedule
  • scores
  • standings
  • countdowns to events

And so much more!

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Above is an example of a daily schedule @Sochi2014 posted for its followers. Its readability and accessibility made it convenient for anyone to view and download any time of day.

@Sochi2014 also utilized hashtags and Olympian’s usernames enabling its followers to view their favorite topics and stay current on their favorite athletes:

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As well as their favorite teams:

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We are all aware that social media and the internet in general, are becoming increasingly influential and necessary to our everyday lives. However, witnessing the reach and capability of social media as a communication outlet, specifically in regards to the Olympics, still ceases to amaze me.

Without cable, I have managed to stay tuned to every event and outcome of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. What are your views on using social media to stay current on the Olympic Games? Is it just as effective, if not more, than watching each event live?

#StripForJackie: The Internet Strips Down to Stand Up for Olympic Athlete

Lebanese Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun has come under fire by the Lebanese Minister for Sports and Youth recently after some racy images of her surfaced in the last couple of weeks. The images show the athlete naked on top of a snowy mountain wearing nothing but some underwear bottoms and some strategic covering.

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The photoshoot in question actually took place three years ago and was used in an Austrian calendar where Jackie appeared along with some other athletes. Jackie took to her Facebook to clear the air, stating that the images that are currently surfacing were not actually used in the calendar and were behind the scenes photos that were not supposed to go public.

Unfortunately for Ms. Chamoun, they did.

Fortunately for her, however, the Internet stepped up to defend her, creating the hashtag #StripForJackie on Twitter and creating an “I Am Not Naked” Facebook page. Many people have posted photos of themselves in their birthday suits to show their support for Jackie.

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Even some Lebanese brands posted photos to show their support of Jackie Chamoun. Almaza Beer proudly stripped down their bottle for the Olympic athlete.

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Alrifai Roastery proudly displayed their nuts in a show of solidarity for the Lebanese athlete.

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Jackie posted an apology to her Facebook page saying,

“I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticize this.”

Should Jackie Chamoun have had to apologize for the photos? Was a Facebook post the appropriate place to do it?