9 ways Twitter has made news @London2012

Trolls, glitches and suspensions at the Summer Games

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington has been a victim of Twitter trolls (Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo)

1. #NBCfail
NBC stands by its decision to use tape-delay to present the Games to its domestic audience, though the move is out of synch with online media’s speedy delivery of results. NBC’s prime-time-over-real-time policy has been among the most-discussed topics so far at what have often (wrongly) been called “the first social media Olympics,” with the hashtag #NBCfail trending on Twitter through much of the weekend.

2. Athletes expelled for racist tweets
So far two athletes have lost the privilege of competing at the XXX Olympiad for racially charged comments made on Twitter. Greek triple-jumper Paraskevi Papachristou was forced to withdraw before the games for a joke she made at the expense of African immigrants in Greece. And Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was expelled for violent, demeaning comments about South Koreans after South Korea defeated Switzerland in a match.

3. Bike race results glitches
Officials blamed mobile users updating social media for choking up bandwidth during the men’s road race. The Olympic Broadcasting Services depends for its race updates on GPS data that was apparently affected by the audience’s participatory approach to watching the event.

4. Aidan Burley smackdown
UK Conservative MP Aidan Burley thought the opening ceremonies were “leftie multicultural crap” and said so on Twitter. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron strongly disagreed with his MP, calling Burley’s comments “idiotic.”

5. Rule 40 rebellion
A number of athletes, including Dawn Harper, who won gold in the women’s 100 metre-hurdles in Beijing, have taken to Twitter to object to the IOC’s strict sponsorship rules. These rules prevent athletes endorsing sponsors, other than the eleven officially approved mega-sponsors of the Games themselves.

6. Diver Tom Daley’s troll
Vying for the bronze for least classy tweet of the Games is the one that scolded Great Britain diving hopeful Tom Daley for finishing out of the medals. “You let your dad down i hope you know that” read one tweet, referring to Daley’s father, who died last year of brain cancer. A seventeen year old man has since been arrested on suspicion of ‘malicious communications.’

7. Journalist Guy Adams’ Twitter suspension
While #NBCfail was wildly popular over the weekend, and enjoyed by many, British correspondent Guy Adams of The Independent got in trouble after piling on. Twitter apparently suspended his account after he posted the email address of NBC executive Gary Zenkel. Twitter has a partnership with NBC Sports.

8. Swimmer Rebecca Adlington’s undeserved abuse
Beloved homespun British swimmer Becky Adlington saw her star rise rapidly after winning double gold in Beijing. But she wasn’t prepared for celebrity, and has admitted to being dismayed by negativity directed her way. Comedian Frankie Boyle has been her most public detractor, recently tweeting that she had an advantage in the pool because she looked like dolphin. Adlington may have missed that, after quitting Twitter during the Olympics to avoid abuse.

9. Conan O’Brien taking a shot at shot-putter Holley Mangold
On this side of the pond, another top female competitor, American shot-putter Holley Mangold, was the target of a Tweet in poor taste from another comedian, Conan O’Brien: “I predict 350 lb. weight lifter Holley Mangold will bring home the gold and 4 guys against their will.”

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