An Olympic-Sized Tweet-Cluster

#Olympics or #OlympicsFail?
As the first summer games since the explosion of social media, the International Olympic Committee worked hard to make London 2012 the most socially-integrated games yet. This included Twitter pages, Instagram profiles and Foursquare check ins that could be rewarded with tickets to the games. And, of course, fans are encouraged to follow their favorite athletes to get a more personal look inside their games. But, as is always the case with Twitter – when it’s good, it’s really good; when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
According to The Guardian, and various other sources, overzealous tweeters interfered with this weekend’s road cycling races, overloading a mobile network responsible for supplying the official time and position of each racer. Consequently, viewers were left in the dark about timing and positions after electronic updates failed to reach commentators during the men’s and women’s cycling events.

The BBC blamed the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) for the lack of information, which left commentator Chris Boardman using his own watch to estimate timings. But the International Olympic Committee said fans sending updates to Twitter while watching the race had in effect jammed transmissions of race information.

IOC Communications director Mark Adams said: “From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.”

The timings are usually sent to organisers via tiny GPS transmitters in competitors’ bikes, but the messages were not received during the races. Despite the slight annoyance to fans and commentators, IOC organizers maintained that the technical glitch had no bearing on the race results.

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