Posted by: mobilitycloud | August 1, 2012

Fans asked to tweet from Olympics only if it’s ‘urgent’

Who would have thought just a few scant years ago that anyone would ask a user to Tweet only if it’s “urgent”? Yes I also found that request to be a bit ironic but apparently with the surge of mobile users like LeBron James and The Royal Family (are they even allowed use the term “Tweet” in their vocabulary?) in London for the Olympics who are constantly Tweeting, which apparently is causing performance problems with the mobile networks. How in the world can you define to a spectator who paid a Kings Ransom to attend this massive event that only urgent Tweets should be sent and what those parameters are? The dilemma on that is if I’m watching my favorite Kayaking or Fencing athlete blow a big lead, how else can I report to the world that I saw a travesty and that the Olympic Committee should take note of who was cheated out of the Bronze Medal and worldwide fame? Short of instituting restrictions on the network to prevent them from choking or starting a “Pay-Per-Tweet” pricing methodology, I’m not sure that there is any way to slow down those mission-critical comments from John Q. Public‘s insatiable desire to tell us the latest athletic fashions from the Scandinavian Greco-Roman Wrestling team.

What this does suggest however is that Twitter has now gone beyond mainstream and business owners (yes I put that in the same sentence) need to consider that there are actually applications for Twitter in a business scenario as strange as that might sound. I have several friends in the that work in the Business Continuity Planning arena and they have recently worked with companies concerned about “Reputation Management” and the liabilities should people start posting, blogging or Tweeting unfavorable comments about a company. Practically any incident in today’s world can trigger a slew of negative commentary that would blister a company’s image or brand, even using the Olympics as an example. Let’s say there was a negative result towards your company’s sponsorship of the certain badminton team that had players disqualified and you had to issue a response regarding your company’s position towards the ruling. I know that I’m stretching this a bit but imagine that you couldn’t “define” if this was an “urgent” Tweet or not and your delayed response cost you business due to the mobile network outage. Here is a definite case of how Twitter, if used effectively, can make or break a company’s reputation, so London go fix those mobile networks so LeBron can keep Tweeting about how Kate Middleton gave him a wink during one of his monster dunks over the entire team from Lithuania. Let’s Go Mobile!

John D. Sutter, CNN
By John D. Sutter, CNN
updated 1:56 PM EDT, Mon July 30, 2012

Broadcasters said they were unable to determine the distance between cyclists during Saturday's men's event in London.
Broadcasters said they were unable to determine the distance between cyclists during Saturday’s men’s event in London.


    • Network problems caused issues for Olympic broadcasters on Saturday
    • Reports: Overuse of text and Twitter caused the problems
    • Broadcasters were unable to provide stats about men’s cycling road race
    • Spokesman tells The Guardian spectators should send only “urgent” tweets and texts

(CNN) — This is supposed to be the Twitter Olympics, but tweet- and text-clogged networks appear to have caused problems for broadcasters at the London Games.

Broadcasters complained over the weekend that they were unable to determine the distance between cyclists in Saturday’s road races because GPS and communications systems had failed.

A spokesman blamed the problems on overuse of Twitter and text messages.

“From my understanding, One network was oversubscribed, and OBS (the Olympic Broadcasting Service) are trying to spread the load to other providers,” Mark Adams, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media,” he added, “but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.”An unnamed spokesman told Reuters that one mobile network was to blame, but he declined to name that network. “It’s a network issue, and it is that which we are working on,” he said.

The International Olympic Committee said the issue was resolved by the women’s cycling road race Sunday and did not affect the outcome of the race Saturday.

“During Saturday’s road race there was an issue with the network provider’s signal,” spokeswoman Sandrine Tonge wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “As a result the delivery of some of the data could not be sent to the broadcasters. This did not affect the time keeping of the race and the results in any way. The issue was dealt with and the system worked for the Women’s road race yesterday.”

Alex Girling, a spokeswoman for the London Olympics, said she was not aware that attendees had been asked to curb social media use. “I don’t think it’s true, to be honest,” she said.

The BBC blamed its spotty coverage of Olympic cycling on network issues.

“We have raised our concerns with OBS who have explained that there were GPS problems with the (London organizing committee)supplied timing graphics which resulted in a lack of information for the commentary teams,” the broadcaster said in a statement on its website.

Dubbed the Twitter Games by some observers, the London Olympics have seen social media platforms play an unprecedented role in helping share news and opinions about events. Twitter said more people had posted about the Olympics on that network Thursday, before the opening ceremony, than had during the entire Beijing Olympics in 2008.

“With the entire world tuning in to enjoy the games, Twitter will carry the roar of the crowd,” the company wrote on its official blog.

That Olympic officials would ask spectators to hold all but the most “urgent” tweets is prompting some entertaining chatter online. Can any sports-related tweet really be urgent?

“What constitutes an ‘urgent’ Olympic tweet is anyone’s guess,” Robert Andrews wrote for PaidContent. “But the request is ironic in light of the IOC’s own social media commitment. That Twitter has undone coverage in this way is even more delightfully ironic for those onlookers who enjoy comparing the relative fortunes of each medium. Unlike the TV data issue, consumers do not yet appear to have experienced mobile signal issues during the games.”


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